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Music

Richard Skelton: Limnology (CD+book, Corbel Stone Press, November 2012)

This is truly awesome. The CD consists almost entirely of a single drone of strings lasting almost half an hour. There are smooth sawing strings, sharp jaggedy, there’s a repeated phrase of five ascending notes. There may be some kind of cymbals underneath, I think. It starts quietly, crescendos smoothly, and fades away again. Other […]

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Machinefabriek: Colour Tones (CD, Fang Bomb, April 2012)

Mostly, this is the sort of ambient which contrasts pure electronic tones against warm old-vinyl static and an ambient synth which sounds like it’s struggling to stay in tune (and occasionally loses the battle). A couple of tracks break from this template: Brown starts out like a modern classical percussion composition, before introducing an effect […]

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Music

A-Sun Amissa: Desperate In Her Heavy Sleep (CD, Gizeh, March 2012)

Cheery album title, eh? Indeed, this album starts out in pretty mournful mould, reminding me of one of the more sombre string sections from a Godspeed or Silver Mt Zion record. (There’s also something Constellation-like about the track listing, which contains wonders like “Dislocated Harmony i. into small Cold EYES ii. Several Miles Above”. Well, […]

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Music

Shackleton: Music For The Quiet Hour / The Drawbar Organ (2CD, Woe To The Septic Heart!, April 2012)

This is… wow, I don’t know what this is. It’s bloody great, though. Let’s start with Music For The Quiet Hour. Through five long tracks, fragments of alien-sounding melodies and rhythms circle around, sampled whooshes and whirrs swirl in and out, and through it all runs a very earnest spoken word piece. It’s like some […]

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Anthony Pateras: Errors Of The Human Body (CD, Editions Mego, February 2012)

This soundtrack to the indie body horror film of the same name is an accomplished bit of glitch-inflected modern classical. As an album, it is a qualified success. Shorn of their context, I find some of the more dramatic moments a little over-cooked (though I imagine they could be very effective in the movie). But on the […]

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Musette: Drape Me In Velvet (CD, Häpna, February 2012)

There is a strangely determined, and determinedly strange, brilliance to this. The sleeve sums it up: a man (presumably Joel Danell himself) in a flamboyant suit with a light-entertainment grin poses awkwardly behind a cheap-looking synthesizer and in front of a soft-focus backdrop — but his eyes are demoniacally glowing white stars. The music is largely Bontempi-style […]

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Music

Ryan Teague: Field Drawings (CD, Village Green, February 2012)

These 12 pieces of melodic modern classical are charming, melodic, and expertly arranged. Somehow, the record as a whole is a little underwhelming, and I think there’s a clue in its title: it feels rather like Ryan Teague has been on a field trip around half a decade of music, and come back with a […]

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Music

Conrad Schnitzler reshaped and remodeled by Ricardo Villalobos & Max Loderbauer: Zug (CD, m=minmal, May 2012)

The last time we encountered master architects Villalobos and Loderbauer in reshaping and remodelling mode, they were tackling ECM’s back catalogue, and the results were a reductio ad absurdum of abstraction (which, incidentally, I love more now than when I wrote that). This time, they’re working their magic with Conrad Schnitzler’s Zug (itself a vinyl reissue of 1973’s […]

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Music

Grouper: A I A (2CD, Kranky, April 2012)

I’d never quite got Grouper (aka Liz Harris) before. I remember the fuss about 2008’s Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill, and at the time I didn’t quite see the attraction. After taking the plunge with this double album, though, I’m a fully paid-up fan. Let’s start with the more conventional half, Alien Observer: […]

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Music

Vladislav Delay: Vantaa (CD, Raster-Noton, November 2011)

This is seriously deconstructed dub techno, picking up (in album terms) where Tummaa left off. (The move from Leaf to Raster-Noton doesn’t appear to have had a massive effect.) Again, the dominant elements are all recognizable genre staples, but the structure is something quite different. This outing feels possibly less meandering. This is most obvious […]