Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pond - Pond

1993; 10 tracks

Pond is remembered by people who don't really know what they're talking about as a 'grunge' band, but I wouldn't call them that. Yeah, they rose to prominence in the NW in the early-to-mid 90's, and it's easy to slap that label on them to quickly reference their involvement in that scene, but "grunge" has dumbed-down connotations that I would never attach to Pond. Their music, even though it was never short on gristly, fuzzed-out tones, was deceptively intricate and fully reliant on melody over all else. Trying to compare the resulting sound to any other band is pointless, and in this case, that's a high compliment.

Pond was a three-piece band that sounded like a four-piece, thanks both to Charlie Campbell's dexterous fingers on the guitar, and Chris Brady's penchant for playing weird-ass semi-chords on his bass. (He would also use a bow sometimes.) And, of course, Dave Triebwasser pummeled the drums. That guy was the perfect drummer for this group. They all sound huge, but like I said, it's the precision that made it work. There were plenty of bands who tried to play loud, melodic rock, but Pond was just really fucking good at it.

The fact that Campbell and Brady's voices sound similar to the untrained ear made the whole thing even more interesting. Their harmonies were dead-on, and instead of their being a slight disconnect when one or the other took over the lead vocals (I always just assumed they sang the songs they wrote, and the vocal duties usually ended up being split down the middle - also cool) - like, say, on a Sebadoh record - you were never left with any sense that things had shifted. Tough to do, and a real testament to how well Campbell and Brady worked together.

So, yes, this is their debut, and though I bet the band considers this their finding-their-sound LP, it's full-blown awesomeness. (Quick aside - I went to see Pond in 1997, and someone yelled out 'Agatha' - one of the singles from this record - and Brady made a comment about how they're "not that band anymore" and they did not play the song. Hence my assumption that they disowned this record at some point.) Trying to explain what Pond sounds like is difficult, so describing the exact merits of these songs is a little tough. They're heavy in a way, but also the sort of songs that I used to sing along to at the top of my lungs. I still can. They're catchy. And the lyrics are smart."

That was taken from here, but I thought it was really great. I agree with that author - Pond is nothing like Nirvana, or Alice in Chains... it is on a completely new level, and the lyrics ARE smart! I will be listening to this album for a few more days, medititating on the full-blown awesomeness of Pond. Every time is a new experience.


Calabrese - The Traveling Vampire Show

2007; 12 tracks

I used to listen to this album about 4 times a day. It was addicting as hell. It's a very fun and interesting punk album that is all about horror movies and whatever.
Calabrese is a horrorpunk band made up of three brothers with the last name Calabrese. I love the vocals on this album.. they're somewhere between Danzig and Elvis, I'd say. "Melodic, hook-laden, catchy, fun, horror-themed Rock with a Punk attitude." DISCLAIMER: not similar to grindcore or deathcore at all... but I love it!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos - A Child's Guide...

1988; 12 tracks

This is lovely release by the obscure New Zealand indie/experimental/new wave band
Wreck Small Speakers on Expensive Stereos.

It combines material from self-released cassettes (1983-1986) and rare live material. Their style ranges from techno-pop to ethereal and acoustic. These tracks are beautiful and deserve more attention!


Belbury Poly - The Willows

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Le Le - Flage

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Fucking Champs - III

1997; 25 tracks

III was a 25-track double album released under the moniker C4AM95, but they are now
The Fucking Champs. The Fucking Champs is a purely instrumental band who synthesize classic guitar rock and more avant-garde styles into one coherent sound. Voivod only wishes it came up with these riffs first.

Flawless victory

Bästard - Radiant, Discharged, Crossed-Off

1996; 10 tracks

Bästard is a French experimental/post-rock group that needs more recognition because this album is really great.

If you like Slint, Three Mile Pilot, or Enablers, make sure you listen to this. Vocals occasionally appear, but this album spends most of it's time experimenting with instrumental post-rock textures. I can't recommend this enough, just give it a shot b/c IT'S REALLY GOOD. ^ Not my description but it works pretty well.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Michael Cashmore - The Snow Abides EP

2007; 5 tracks

A tender and beautiful apocalyptic folk album that is an even softer side of the main contributor to Nature & Organisation,
Michael Cashmore.

There's a fragile beauty to the work of Michael Cashmore on The Snow Abides borne from delicate piano scores, complemented by lush arrangements from a small ensemble of players, and the heart-stopping voice of Antony Hegarty. This evocative, yet short, EP manages to communicate a profound spiritual longing through Cashmore's disarming, gentle melodies.

I look at my hands and count the sun making another scar across my sky

Lullatone - Plays Pajama Pop Pour Vous

2006; 8 tracks

This is without a doubt my favorite electronic album, of any kind, in the universe.
Lullatone is a beautiful indie/pajama pop/ambient duo and this is only one of many great albums, but it is definitely my favorite. I could listen to it forever. Floating Away and Magical... are magical songs!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sergei Rachmaninoff - The Bells, Symphonic Dances, The Isle of the Dead

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Francis Poulenc - Piano and Chamber Music

2004; 5 discs, 119 tracks

French composer
Francis Poulenc was among "Les Six," which included other young French composers such as Darius Milhaud, Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger and Germaine Tailleferre. Poulenc, especially, had a special knack to bridge the gap between the classical and modern styles through his inexhaustible melodic inspiration, piquant melodies and sense of humor through music.

Gifted with unusual skills and abilities, Poulenc's powerful imagination allowed him to create pages filled of colorfulness, cheerful lyricism, hovered by a Pagan humor; he was, by far, the most Dionysian composer of the group, despite the fact the whole attention of great audiences seemed to focus the most on orchestral proposals such as Erik Satie with Parade or Milhaud's Creation of World...

This 5 disc set features over 100 pieces of elegant and blissful piano/chamber music by Francis Poulenc.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Alfred Schnittke - Complete Piano Sonatas

Einojuhani Rautavaara - Angel of Light, Cantus Arcticus, and Dances with the Winds

1999 ; 11 tracks

Einojuhani Rautavaara is a Finnish composer of powerful classical music in the likeness of Grieg, Tveitt, Sibelius, and other Scandinavian composers. Here are his most amazing works, in my opinion, that are hardly obscure or inaccessible, despite the fact that Rautavaara is quite often overlooked. His music is icy and powerful, and, as stated before, much like Tveitt and Greig. I love love love Tveitt's "Aurora Borealis" piano concerto, and the Concerto for Birds & Orchestra (which is, needless to say, an ingenious concept) is very similar in landscape and communicative power.

I highly, highly recommend Rautavaara as his vivacious and almost -foreign-, exciting nature, shown through these three remarkable pieces, will honestly take your breath away.

1-4. Symphony No. 7 ('Angel of Light')
Jaakko Kuusisto / Lahti Symphony Orchestra

5-8. Flute Concerto ('Dances with the Winds'), Op. 69
Sakari Tepponen / Lahti Symphony Orchestra

9-11.Cantus Arcticus (Concerto for Birds & Orchestra), for orchestra & taped bird songs, Op. 61
Osmo Vänskä / Lahti Symphony Orchestra


Corrupted - El Mundo Frio

2005; 1 track (1:11:39)

Corrupted is a doom/sludge metal band from Japan. They are also pioneers of that music genre and sing in English, Japanese, and Spanish.

El Mundo Frio (meaning The Cold World) is a 71 minute-long track that includes elements of sludge, doom metal, drone doom metal while also featuring dark ambient sections. It takes a long time to actually start to have some life in it, and when the real song actually starts the riffs repeat over and over and over again. I find this deeply rewarding because the riffs and atmosphere that is created is deeply beautiful. I'm wondering what others would think of it.

Here is a well written summary/review of what you should expect: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/10928/Corrupted-El-Mundo-Frio/


Einstürzende Neubauten - Stahlmusik

1980; 9 tracks

This is the first official release by German industrial band
Einstürzende Neubauten and it is unlike most of their other releases. Stahlmusik is an extremely atmospheric piece of work.. very intimate and eerie. Blixa Bargeld's vocals are quite haunting.. sometimes shouted and sometimes whispered... reminiscent of Jandek at times. The music here is much more conventional and retrained than even on Kollaps, but the interesting industrial noises in the background are still heard. Omg. Highly recommended.


Circle of Ouroborus - Tree of Knowledge

Urfaust / Circle of Ouroborus - Auerauege Raa Verduistering

2006; 10 tracks

Urfaust and Circle of Ouroborus are both truly individual and fantastic acts on the black metal scene.
Urfaust is a Dutch black metal band that tends toward the avant-garde at times, providing full symphonic tracks in their releases and playing a unique style of black metal.. that with almost entirely clean vocals. Circle of Ouroborus is a Finnish black metal band that reminds me a lot of Nuit Noire, although they are very different, as they are heavily influenced by the post-punk band Joy Division. Their sound is also highly individual and unique - clean vocals, lo-fi production, and sometimes completely acoustic tracks. It is gorgeous, though, and this split provides the best of both worlds.

1. Verächtung Wird Einen Messertragenden Schatten
2. Der Halbtoten Dichters Schein-Existenz
3. Zur Winter-Wanderschaft Verflucht
4. Dämmert, Gelähmt und Mit Scheinbar Erloschenem Geist
Circle of Ouroborus:
5. Dream of Death
6. Mouldering Leaves
7. Dimicatio
8. Eyes of the Flames
9. Congregation of Sorrow
10. In the Forest of the Horned God


Friday, September 17, 2010

Thorns - Thorns

2001; 8 tracks (48:11)

Mesmerizing piece of music similar to The Work Which Transforms God. What else can I say? Just listen.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blut Aus Nord - The Work Which Transforms God

2003; 12 tracks (51:40)

A must hear infinite times album. Listen in the dark for best results.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Samuel Barber - Piano Music

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Supreme Dicks - The Emotional Plague

Kingston Wall - II

1998; 10 tracks; 1:02:37

II is up there in my favorite albums of all time. Each track is heavily dynamic with their progressing eastern style music. There are many moments that sound very Pink Floyd-like but are exponentially better than the latter. I could not ever find anything wrong with this album even if I listen to it a billion times.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Coil - The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence

2003; 2 tracks

These are two tracks full of music (or noise, rather) reworked from The Remote Viewer. This is quite a bit less "melodic," and much more experimental, but still very Coil-y and awesome.

Both sides of the 10" use the same basic sounds and techniques, but the sculpturing takes different forms on either side. "The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence I" introduces the sound palette: a chorus of digital buzzes, stutters and skips that occupy the soundfield at different pitches and volumes. This music is very dimensional, seeming to fly into one's ears at a myriad of different angles. Soon, the high-end stutters are joined by a series of quasi-rhythmic metallic throbs, like the alternating whirr of a flying saucer engine. These elements are then edited, overdubbed and sculpted into dramatic convergences of sound that alternately pierce, arouse and frighten. So many faintly recognizable sounds can be heard in this midst of these abstractions, but the listener cannot discern which are placed there intentionally and which are an accident of subjectivity. A chorus of bone saws, a squeaking hinge, high-pitched shrieking, a mutated voice, swooping metallic shards, granular static: all of these sounds sneak out of the noise over the course of the piece. "The Restitution of Decayed Intelligence II" uses the same set of aural phenomena, but this time snatches of recognizable melody become obvious as the piece unfolds. Jhon Balance's warped vocal hiccups from track two of The Remote Viewer are re-used, albeit in a completely inscrutable form, sounding like a swarm of bees frantically trying to communicate with the human race. Halfway through, there is a shocking increase in volume and intensity as the piece gains momentum. It is here that we see Coil's personality come through; this piece, however chaotic, has the same epic sweep as their Love's Secret Domain-era acid house excercises, and all of the dark, hedonistic atmosphere.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dornenreich - Durch Den Traum

2006; 8 tracks

This, my friends, was the first album I'd ever heard that was even remotely close to the genre "black metal." It was my first encounter with the German band
Dornenreich, and my first true experience with music. By that, I mean that it really took me somewhere. The title Durch Den Traum, or "Journey Through a Dream," was just that - a journey. Nothing in Dornenreich's discography sounds like this, for these 8 chilling tracks of darkness are unlike anything I've ever heard before. This album is incredible. The majority of it is soft, whispered, and at times frantic - the instruments seemingly wound to their fullest potential and mournfully wailing achingly heartbroken sounds. There are parts to the album, however, that are absolutely mindnumbing in intensity and passion. Dornenreich's atmospheric and mysterious style of black metal is what I find the most appealing.

The second half of the second track (around 4:15) is absolutely one of the most amazing transitional parts of any piece of music I've ever heard (even more so than Jesu's "Ruined")!

"It is very hard, maybe even impossible, for one to properly understand the experience that is Durch Den Traum without having listened to it first hand. The band plays atmospheric black metal but in a way that is unique only to them. Their combination of soft, distorted chords; folky breaks and dissonant, heavier sections are arranged in such a way as to create something that has a lot of the same ingredients as other releases but sounds nothing like any of them. The atmosphere on here can be best described as dreamlike. The calm spoken words section quickly giving way to the more nightmarish shouted parts (and I do say shouted as there are almost none of the traditional black metal shrieks). So come experience something unique in a genre where you thought you had heard it all."

Are you asleep?
Am I awake?
Are we a dream?
The world and I?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Deadboy & the Elephantmen - If This is Hell Then I'm Lucky Demo

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rome - Flowers From Exile

Godflesh - Selfless

1994; 11 tracks (1:18:16)

This is Justin Broadrick at his best. I have listened to Go Spread Your Wings (the 24 min. last track) countless times. It is simply fucking amazing, along with the rest of the album.

Here are the lyrics

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Eliane Radigue - Adnos I-III

2002; 3 tracks (3:36:51)

I have been through a lot with these profoundly beautiful pieces, so I decided that I MUST share it with others, because it may mean at least something to someone else.

http://www.dustedmagazine.com/reviews/412 - I consider it pointless for me to write anything more when this review says it all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eddie Marcon - 過冷の絵空事

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The United States Of America - The United States Of America

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Coil - Stolen & Contaminated Songs

Erik Satie - Musique d'Ameublement, Vexations

Claude Debussy - Jeux, La Mer, Nocturnes

Maurice Ravel - Piano Concertos

2002; 5 tracks
Joaquín Achúcarro, pianist
Gilbert Varga, conductor

This lovely CD features the 2 Piano Concertos by
Maurice Ravel. The first three tracks are his Piano Concerto in G Major, the fourth track the "Alborada del Gracioso, for orchestra," and, to end the album, the Piano Concerto in D Major (for the left hand). So beautiful.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Air - Talkie Walkie

2004; 10 tracks

I know I've said this before, but this album by French duo
Air is one of my all-time favourites. Every track is truly a jewel and a treasure to behold - I hope you enjoy it as much as I did/do. :3

A part of me would like to travel in your veins

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Giya Kancheli - Exil

2000; 5 tracks

Giya Kancheli is Georgian composer who, apparently, is often compared to both Arvo Pärt and John Tavener. Instantly, you should realize that this is not "easy" listening. I take both Kancheli and Tavener (having not listened to a great amount of Pärt, sadly) as both holy and doomed. Their music contains a spirituality that is not often captured in "classical" music, but I find it an extraordinarily haunting, and beautiful, dimension to otherwise boring vocal music. This is a highly meditative work that deserves at least one listen.

Exile is a vocal work sung in German, in faultless style, by Maacha Deubner accompanied by an ensemble of 5 instrumentalists with subtle additions of synthesizer and tape. It starts with a setting of the 23rd Psalm, followed by three settings of small, searing poems by Paul Celan, and ends with `Exile', a poem by Hans Sahl. Both of these poets knew exile and were scarred by Nazi atrocities during World War II - Celan barely escaped with his life from an Romanian prison camp, and Sahl fled Germany in 1933 and escaped to America on one of the last ships leaving Marseille in 1941, so even though this work is titled after 'Exile' and alludes to Kancheli's own exile from his country, it is also heavily weighed upon by memories of the war. The music is uniformly slow with spare, open writing and few of the extremes of dynamics common to his writing. The composition is intensely `inner', nearly conversational, and the voice, held at all times non vibrato and in great control, echoes in pure tones as if sung in a vaulted space like a haunted cathedral.


Erik Satie - Avent dernières pensées

2009; 71 tracks
Alexander Tharaud, pianist

New releases devoted to
Erik Satie are rarities these days, as if the charm and quirkiness of his music have dulled and faded from fashion. But pianist Alexandre Tharaud's repackaging of 71 of Satie's miniatures is an ideal way of rekindling interest in this still-elusive and misunderstood figure. Tharaud devotes the first disc to solo piano pieces, in which the six marvelous Gnossiennes are threaded through a sequence that includes the Avent dernières pensées and wonderfully named sets such as the Embryons desséchés and Heures séculaires et instantanées.

In the seven piano pieces that make up Le Piège de Méduse, Tharaud "prepares" the piano by placing sheets of paper on the strings as Satie evidently did for the premiere, anticipating John Cage and George Crumb's invention by more than 20 years.

On the second disc, Tharaud is joined by a succession of other musicians for duos that range from the piano four-hands version of the Trois Morceaux en Forme de Poire to tiny pieces for trumpet and piano and violin and piano, via songs with the tenor Jean Delescluse and the chanteuse Juliette. The chansons could easily be my favourite of the second disc, as Juliette's magical voice is never operatic but perfectly surreal.

There are so many amazing things to be found in Satie. Art that hides art.

Disc 1

Disc 2

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dolorian - Dolorian

2001; 9 tracks

Prepare to be transported to an alien landscape by the psychedelic, very dissonant guitars and heavy dark atmosphere in this doom metal masterpiece. Hidden underneath the slow paced (sometimes even purely atmospheric) and the alternate powerful/faster parts you will find some of the best sounds you will ever hear in your life. You will miss the place you went as soon as the album ends.

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