Monday, January 31, 2011

Daedelus & Jogger - Friends of Friends, Vol. 1

2009; 6 tracks

This is a really great EP with three tracks each of idm/electronic artist
Daedelus and up-and-coming experimental/indie group Jogger. Daedelus' approach to hip-hop is slightly laid-back, but this EP features the amazing track "LA Nocturn," as well as an Elliot Lipp re-mix of the track. Jogger is virtually unclassifiable, but their electronic mixed with metal tracks found here are enticing indeed. It's highly enjoyable and even beautiful at times.

Here's a nicely made video of Jogger's track "Nephicide" which is, for obvious reasons, my favorite on the EP.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Yacøpsæ - Tanz, Grozny, Tanz

2007; 25 tracks

Yacøpsæ was formed in August 1990 in Hamburg, Germany.

I really like this album, but that might just be because of "Frost."

Magrudergrind - Magrudergrind

2009; 16 tracks

I used to listen to a hell of a lot of grindcore and powerviolence back in the early years of my I was really into Nasum and Martyrdöd, but I came across some incredible stuff that I almost forgot about, like Magrudergrind. I'm on my old computer so it's all here for me to sift through... ANYWAY.

Magrudergrind is a grindcore/powerviolence group from District of Colombia. As a respected grindcore group who create meaningful and incredible music, Magrudergrind's self-titled is nearly unprecedented in the world of powerviolence. The first track might be my favorite grindcore track in the world, too.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I turn 18 this year. I grow up... what else?

This past winter has brought with it more tragedy than I have ever experienced, and more isolation than I have ever known. It didn't bother me too much at first, the deaths and the funerals and the sadness. But one by one they became real to me, taking their time, like a block of ice that melts in the cold sunlight. What has seeped into me over these months will stay with me forever.

For the past week or so I've been listening to Death in June's But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter? every night in bed, trying to string together all the tiny memories I have of Phonsie. I always skip to "The Giddy Edge of Light," and the tears fall and dampen my pillow, but I think it's only because I'm laying on my side. That album is really incredible. People are always saying that Death in June is a poor man's Current 93, but listening to that album, I can't imagine anything more glorious. The main theme of Symbols seems to be:

"Do not weep, / For all this is passing..." and

"This is not Paradise."

I can't help but take comfort in at least the dream-like consolation of enduring this life and bracing myself for the next. All I can say is that the album brings me to a place of calm, the only place where I can gather my dwindling memories with as much accuracy as I can, careful to not let one slip through my fingers.

To remind me of my grandfather, I listen to Popol Vuh's Nosferatu. The album is like a mantric homage to my ever-hardening heart.

As for my grandmother, everything. Everything in this world reminds me of her.

I sometimes wish I could stay 17 forever. After 12 months I would turn 17, again, forever. But I know I cannot. Murakami said only the dead could do that.

I feel like my life is incomplete if I am not starting or in the middle of any Murakami novel. He is the key to my existence.

My teenage years went by a lot quicker than my younger ones, I think. I can't recall very many exact moments of the years 13-16, but some very vivid things stayed with me. I found music that changed everything, I found people that changed everything, and I myself changed into someone I can hardly recognize sometimes... The days when I found solace in myself are gone. The days when I can obliviously live in my perfect little world are gone, too.

All that I have left are memories.

Each season there is something I either occupy myself with or am infatuated with, and later on I remember these seasons by the various things that had their hold over me during that time. These memories are all I have left, but I treasure them...

For example, two Christmases ago, I listened to Kauan's Lumikuuro over and over again, and wore a heady jasmine perfume that I cannot find anywhere. It snowed that Christmas, and I got my favorite T-shirts.

The summer before last, I lived in a completely dream-like state for almost 3 months. Someone had control of me. I could not let go. I was introduced to the nature of adulthood, to things that took away my innocence, to things that scared me and thrilled me. I have a few pictures of myself from that time, kept in my aging cell-phone. My eyes look slightly out of focus in each one... I don't even look like myself. Along with the dizziness I felt, I also found music and books that I now hold invaluable.

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Dead Can Dance's Within the Realm of the Dying Sun
Death in June's But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter?
Cocteau Twins' Head Over Heels
Morbid Angel's Altars of Madness
Deathspell Omega's "Chaining the Katechon"
Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps
Swans' White Light From the Mouth of Infinity

These are the memories that I frequent the most often, like hidden rooms in the back of my consciousness that I must always remember to visit lest they never open again.

I had a dream the other night that Jhonn Balance came to my room, but his body was comprised of words. His whole body was words. Out of his mouth, the opening lines to "Tiny Golden Books."

Dark they were, with golden eyes
Brought golden books from darkened skies
Every word from every world within was written down
They read it all aloud to us with silver tongues of fire
That licked the sun and stars and moon
All space became a choir
Shining shining shining then they left without a sound
Then they left without a sound
Then they left without a sound

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cocteau Twins - Tiny Dynamine & Echoes in a Shallow Bay

1985; 4 tracks


1985; 4 tracks


These two infinitely lovely EPs were released two weeks apart in the November of 1985. They were recorded for the purpose of testing the capacities of the new studio, but seeing how strong the material was, Cocteau Twins decided to release two short EPs comprised of the material, and later a CD with them all together.

Cocteau Twins, if you have the misfortune of never hearing them before, is a dreampop/shoegaze/post-punk group from Scotland, formed in 1979. Their discography is quite extensive, but all worth giving at least one listen. These two EPs might often be overlooked, but their bold beauty is something not often found in the world of music today.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Arab on Radar - Queen Hygiene II

2003; 9 tracks

I assure you, there is hardly any better noisy no-wave music out there than this.
Arab on Radar is an experimental/noise group from Rhode Island. Combining rebellious new-wave music with experimental noise, Queen Hygiene II, the band's first album, sets quite a standard.

"Arab on Radar is a neo-no-wave band. Using the sounds of the 1970’s most rebellious genre as its muse and retaliating against a whole new batch of mainstream punk music. You see no-wave began as a wholly serious, but extremely goofy retaliation towards the mainstreaminized punk sounds of the late 70s and early 80s new wave genre. The lyrics may not have been a direct attack on skinny white ties and poofy hair, but the graphic, disgusting, snotty sex and violence references make it obvious enough that these guys are angry about something.

You see, Arab on Radar is a ferocious mass of sound, dripping with sex and drugs and seared with distortion and feedback, shrouded in mystery, but out in the open, for anyone who wants it. 0ueen Hygiene II comes as fast as it goes, lasting a mere 21:00 or so minutes, but it leaves as lasting an impression as anything."


Friday, January 21, 2011

Air France - No Way Down EP

2008; 6 tracks

Air France is a Swedish indie/pop/folk band. All I can say about this likeable EP is it's dreaminess is the greatest thing about it.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Veljo Tormis - Litany to Thunder

2000; 8 tracks
Marrit Gerretz-Traksmann / Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir

For fans of Arvo Pärt and other experimental/contemporary classical artists:

"This startling record begins with two sopranos and a gentle piano sounding for all the world like Enya singing Satie; two tracks later we have a hair-raising chorus and drum hurling curses upon iron (which makes the tools of work and war). It's all the work of Estonian composer
Veljo Tormis, who uses simple, even primitive melodies and ancient folk poetry (perhaps too simple for some listeners, especially those who understand no Finnish or Estonian) with exciting, sometimes atonal but always accessible accompaniment for chorus and/or instruments. The results can be plaintive and calm or vigorous, even feral. The most entertaining piece on the disc is 'The Bishop and the Pagan,' which retells (in a way) the story of St. Henry, who was martyred on a frozen lake in 1158 by an angry peasant with an ax. An alto and two tenors sing a medieval Latin poem in praise of Henry to a very chantlike melody in parallel fifths; meanwhile, baritones and basses pound out (softly at first) an ancient Finnish lyric told from the peasant's point of view. The highlight is when the Henry trio is reduced to a wordless on-pitch howling while the peasant's chant is at its strongest - followed by a surprisingly witty ending. Not coincidentally, the next piece on the record, Litany to Thunder, depicts the sacrifice of an ox to the god of thunder and rain. Frankly, it's terrifying."


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Bluedawn (푸른새벽) - Vol. 3, 보옴이 오면

2006; 11 tracks

I've always loved Korean indie/folk music, particularly Adultchild (
어른아이), but this album, 보옴이 오면 ("Boomyi Comes"), is really touching to me.

Bluedawn is a Korean folk duo consisting of Dawn and Sorrow. Their sound isn't exclusively melancholic and gentle, as there are more cheerful songs too. 보옴이 오면 is the group's third album, and my favorite. The other two are beautiful as well, but this album's beauty reaches a much deeper level. Bluedawn was a part of the Pastel Music label, which has released some really incredible music... I highly recommend both them and this album.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Arthur Honegger - Symphonies 1-5 + Pacific 231

2004; 2 discs
Michel Plasson / Orchestre du Capital du Toulouse

Arthur Honegger was a Swiss composer, born in France, and member of Les Six. His style is similar to that of Milhaud's and Poulenc's, certainly, but there's an odd edge found here in his symphonies, particularly the first. This might have to do with the natural primitism underground artists and those dabbling in Dadaism might have found appealing. Les Six was a group of composers based in France who sought to fight against impressionism and, at times, art itself. This has prompted some to take the composers as Dadaist, or of the same artistic standpoints a Dadaist (Dadaists were avant-garde artists during the first world war who produced art that was... not art). But I cannot really judge this. Honegger's overall brash and manly sound contrasts darkly with the airiness of his contemporaries, I think, which makes me wonder what the purposes of these men truly were. Apparently the six were terribly different in thought, but shared their love of music. It is completely rational to consider these men as simply avant-garde composers who enjoyed cubist and surrealist art, working against the artistic structures of the time to create an entirely new approach to music. Satie and his "furniture music" is one example... "Art that hides art." They were influenced by literary figures such as Jean Cocteau and Ornella Volta, as well as the great artistic minds of the time, most notably Pablo Picasso.

According to his site, Arthur Honegger's music "is characterised by a great sense of architecture which allows him to mix all the different languages and musical techniques of his era. His music serves a humanist concept that is completly in phase with the major questions of the twentieth century." That explains his music perfectly - a great sense of architecture. Honegger loved trains, the suite Pacific 231 being about a train in particular. It's interesting how how many early 20th century composers were so fascinated with trains and the industrial revolution.

I think this quote nicely illustrates the apotheosis of Honegger's musical aesthetic:

"I do not worship the fair, or the music-hall, but chamber music and symphony music for its essence of solemness and austerity. I place such importance in the architecture of music that I would never want to see it sacrificed for reasons of literary or pictorial order. I have a tendency (maybe a little exaggerated) to look for the polyphonic complexity. I am not trying to return to a harmonious simplicity, like some anti-impressionist musicians. On the contrary, I think that we should use the harmonic material created by the school of thought that preceeded us, but in a different way, as a base for figure and rythym."

Disc 1
Disc 2

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. - Univers Zen Ou De Zéro À Zéro

2007; 6 tracks

I was going to post this last April but apparently I never did:

Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. is a fairly prolific Japanese psychedelic band consisting of many members founded by Kawabata Makoto. I don't remember where I heard about this album, but I just got it and it's really a trip through some strange creepy place. I liked it but I'm not sure if I love it yet. I'll be giving it a few more tries, but it is definitely a worthwile listen.


The Oscillation - Out of Phase

2007; 13 tracks

The Oscillation is multi-instrumentalist Demian Castellanos' psychedelic/krautrock project. Aside from The Oscillation's brilliant cover of "Head Hang Low," from Julian Cope's first album World Shut Your Mouth, this album is full of wonderful moments. Out of Phase, from funky post-punk to experimental to psychedelic to krautrock, can accurately be described as phantasmagorical.

Listen to this cover and see if it isn't just the greatest thing ever.



Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Bran Flakes - I Have Hands

2009; 30 tracks

This album is 100% samples. These mashup specialists have created 30 tracks of pre-existing material that never cease to amaze. The most paradoxical of works have been fused together and recontextualized in a fun, amazing way. Some bits and pieces I recognized but many others I didn't... I've never heard anything like
The Bran Flakes, but this genre is something I think I shall explore further in the future.

"No other band dares to invite Lawrence Welk, Mr. Rogers, Van Halen, & Strawberry Shortcake to the same party. One track uses Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" at its center, juxtaposes the familiar guitar pluck from Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger," and ends with the Osmonds singing about freedom."



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Murray Gold - Doctor Who Series 1-5 Soundtracks

Series 1 & 2

2006; 31 tracks

My favorite Doctor Who track as of now, "Doomsday," is on this one. I think I like it so much because it reminds me of the episode "Doomsday," which is so very beautiful and emotional.


Series 3

2007; 28 tracks


Series 4

2008; 27 tracks


Series 4: The Specials


Disc 1, 21 tracks
Disc 2, 26 tracks

Disc 1 is the first three specials, and Disc 2 contains the soundtrack to "The End of Time," including the heartwrenching final music of the Tenth Doctor.. :\

Disc 1
Disc 2

Series 5

Disc 1, 26 tracks
Disc 2, 39 tracks

This was supposed to be split up into 28 and 37 tracks, but I messed up.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Johannes Brahms - Ballade Op. 10, No. 4 in B Major

I love this piece. Michelangeli does it much justice as he tenderly carries the oh so intimate melody along. The ending is so lovely.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Les Baxter - Moog Rock

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Buffy Sainte-Marie - Illuminations

1969; 12 tracks

Illuminations is the sixth album by
Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter. Sainte-Marie's bold, wavering voice both haunts and warms Illuminations, providing a picture of a wild-hearted individual with "a heart driven by nature, and a mind by the universe." This incredible album needs no words to introduce it.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jandek - Raining Down Diamonds

2005; 7 tracks

Jandek, there is a kind of desolation that must reach you. As though everything were dimmed and reduced to itself. As though the world had contracted, hardened, and was falling in an inward collapse. The rays of the sun burn outwards; but what of an inward ray - what of a ray sent inward, a sun collapsing upon itself? What of darkness falling into darkness and all the way to that terrible void that would draw everything across its horizon?


Friday, January 7, 2011

Man or Astro-Man? - Is It... Man or Astro-Man?

1993; 14 tracks

Man or Astro-Man? is an amazing surf rock/electronic/punk group from Auburn, Alabama. Created by college students Birdstuff, Coco the Electronic Monkey Wizard, and Star Crunch, Man or Astro-Man? firmly believes they are aliens sent to Earth from the universe solely to play surf rock. Is It... Man or Astro-Man? is the group's first album, and the only one I've heard so far, but it's so so good.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Men's Recovery Project - The Golden Triumph of Naked Hostility

1997; 60 tracks

Men's Recovery Project is an experimental/avant-garde musical group formed in San Francisco, 1993. This record is an assembly of tracks from 72s and one micro-EP put out between 1993 and 1998, during which years the group obviously spent time expressing themselves in dozens of styles. Among this mix of genres is the harsh post-hardcore familiar to early MRP records, as well as a few more synthesized (hardly melodic) tracks. My favorite tracks are the more sciencey, robotic, chaotic, and strange ones, like "Rude Scientist."


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Serge Gainsbourg - Histoire de Melody Nelson

1971; 7 tracks

Many of you have probably heard this before, it being a 40 year old album. But still, it must be said - it is an iconic album, one everyone must hear at least once!
Serge Gainsbourg was a French singer/songwriter, among many other things. Histoire de Melody Nelson, Gainsbourg's 12th album, is conceptualized around a young girl named Melody Nelson. More info on the album's interesting and romantic plot can be found here. The entire album is silmultaneously sweetly beautiful and very sexy, but "Ballade de Melody Nelson," the second track, is easily the most tender and melancholy.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

DJ /rupture - Uproot

2008; 23 tracks

DJ /rupture is New York-based electronic/breakcore artist Jace Clayton. Uproot is a very diverse mix album, combining dubstep, classical, reggae, and other urban dance genres. The tracks flow seamlessly as the album progresses, with a few gentler tunes to complement the intensity of the others.



Monday, January 3, 2011

Dornenreich - Flammenmensch

Incredible. I am so so so so so excited for the new album Flammentriebe (14.2.11).
Dornenreich has made it evident that their creativity, talent, expressiveness, and passion knows no bounds. Not even Herr von welken Nächten sounds this good!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bowery Electric - Bowery Electric

1995; 9 tracks

Bowery Electric is the first album by shoegaze/ambient group
Bowery Electric. It really might be my new favorite shoegaze album ever, Loveless aside. The spacey feel, the prominent bass, the dreampoppy vocals - it feels like being by the sea at night time. Dark, repetitive, and utterly hypnotic, the tracks can, at times, become indistinguishible from each other. This only intensifies the ambient beauty of Bowery Electric's brand of droned-out shoegaze. I don't really know what else to say... "Another Road" is an amazing track.

awake but numb

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Philip Glass - Dracula

1999; 26 tracks
Kronos Quartet

Prolific modern classical composer
Philip Glass has created a live accompaniment to Browning's 1931 film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. While the film is not a 'silent film,' there being dialogue and a few selections from Tchaikovsky's ballet Swan Lake, Glass intended the score to accompany the film. Though I prefer the deathly silence of the film, its startingly bare landscape, devoid of gore, blood, and thrills, merges quite well with this minimalist score for strings.

undead, undead

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