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France Jobin: Death Is Perfection, Everything Else Is Relative (LP, Editions Mego, July 2020)

This is the kind of record you want to turn up loud and just let it wash over you. It’s two tracks, each just under twenty minutes, of glacial Buchla 200 drone. It hums and it shimmers and it throbs and it crackles gently. Sometimes the changes snap in and out abruptly; other times they […]

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François J. Bonnet & Stephen O’Malley: Cylene (2LP, Editions Mego, September 2019)

In which Stephen O’Malley out of Sunn O))) and François J. Bonnet of the Groupe de Recherches Musicales in Paris’s National Audiovisual Institute have a beard-off. And the beards win. You probably expect this is going to be a weighty business, and it is, but at the same time there’s an ethereal quality to it. […]

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Norman Westberg: After Vacation (LP, Room 40, July 2018)

Ahhhhh! Swans-chappy Norman Westberg has been playing with his guitars and his effects pedals and has come up with a lovely sort of ambient drone thing which immediately sweeps you away in a sort of floaty haze. Little plucked melodies drift in and out of the gentle waves of texture. It reminds me a little […]

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Aclds: Fuadain Liesmas (CD, Entr’acte, January 2018)

I want you to imagine a giant robot, lost in a world it does not understand, holding a more aleatoric Morton Subotnick in one hand and a noisier Autechre in the other hand and trying to figure out how they work, while the mad scientist who built this poor creature plays fragments of The Caretaker […]

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Anna von Hausswolff: Källan (Betatype) (12″, Touch, November 2016)

What with the excellent recent records from Claire M Singer and Bethan Kellough, Touch have been on a pretty stunning run of form recently, and this release absolutely keeps up the good work. As with Solas, the composer is doing some awesome melodic drone work on a pipe organ, in this case the astonishing Acusticum organ […]

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Music

Jon Mueller: Tongues (LP, Rhythmplex, May 2016)

You may want to be sitting down for this one. Right from the start of the A-side (the 15-minute long How You Look When You’re Not Looking) we’re thrown into some seriously heavy ritualistic shit. According to the liner notes, Mueller “conceived” this (it’s hard to believe that it’s scored) and plays bass drums, voice, […]

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Music

Giacinto Scelsi, Chris Watson & Joe Browning: Scelsi EP (LP, SN Variations, March 2016)

The first side consists of a Duo for Violin and Cello by Giacinto Scelsi, a drone piece with just a tiny leavening of melody, excellently played by Aisha Orazbayeva and Lucy Railton. It’s got a mystical power to it and it’s quite subtly uplifting, excellent stuff. On the flip side are two Scelsi-inspired works. Chris Watson’s […]

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Mätisse: Kairos (CD, In Paradisum, January 2016)

Sometimes, I really don’t make life easy for myself. It’s very hard to know what to say about this record. There are two 18-minute tracks, but each is in several apparently unrelated parts. Along the way it incorporates (in no particular order) melodic synth music, sparse modern classical using a variety of different piano sounds […]

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Music

Jóhann Jóhannsson with Hildur Guðnadóttir and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe: End Of Summer (CD+DVD, Sonic Pieces, December 2015)

This release was pretty exciting to me, given my feelings about all the protagonists: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns was one of my albums of 2011, Hildur Guðnadóttir’s Leyfðu Ljósinu was one of my albums of 2012, and Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe’s FRKWYS collaboration with Ariel Kalma, We Know Each Other Somehow, is bound to be on the […]

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Gabriel Saloman: Movement Building Vol. 2 (LP, Shelter Press, October 2015)

If I have one complaint about this album from (sorry) the less well-known half of Yellow Swans, it’s simply that at 31 minutes it’s too short. Otherwise, it’s magnificent. It’s primarily guitar drones and percussion, although for much of the first part of the record it sounds like the guitar is being bowed or scraped […]