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Baseball Cap - Idiot’s Smile

Voyeuristic ambient? A concept electronic album based on the experiences of watching stereotypical college bros during a long period of time? Whatever that is, the album by Christian Michael Filardo’s new project, Baseball Cap, based in Baltimore stems from the experience of living next to the college students’ house for quite a long time. The results are slightly annoying droning electronics that unveil a hidden beauty within a house ravaged by party-starting party-animals jumping and prancing around, looking for booze and drugs and then spacing out when taking everything at once, the white and the green and the pills and the blotter, you can’t do that! Oh wait, now you’re floating to the afterlife. And you’re carrying an idiot’s smile. So it goes.

Among the newest crop of cassettes from the Polish psychedelic cassette powerhouse Sangoplasmo Records is a release by the Polish duo Kapital, consisting of Kuba Ziołek (Hokei, Alameda Trio, Innercity Ensemble, Stara Rzeka, T’ien L’ai etc.) and Rafał Iwański (X:NAVI:ET, Hati). As the sample suggests, together, those two psych juggernauts conjure some major guitar magic via the means of a heavy Ray Montgomery worshipping riff floating among the droning, ascending electronics a’la Acid Mothers Temple, except with a soft, ambiental edge that stems from the raw minimalism of the piece’s beginning. A solid release by a solid duo. Get the tape on Sangoplasmo!

Oh by the way, thanks to Gacougnol, now I’m posting the Bandcamp link to the full album!

Can Can Heads - Butter Life

The Finnish noise rock veterans Can Can Heads have been around since 1993, which makes them old enough to drink beer. And with age they bring the experience needed to play the kind of garage-ridden, lo-fi infested angular noise rock with the help of a skewed, skronky saxophone, Flying Luttenbachers-style. It’s often toxic and super-distorted, but sometimes it gets floating and exposes some strangely psychedelic energy bulbing from underneath the amphetaminic noise rock. Somebody on Bandcamp has written about this album: "The world would be a better place if everyone owned this LP. A "Trout Mask Replica" for the iPhone generation. Favorite track: Breakdiscodance." I agree with the first part. For the second part, it lacks the proper vocals. Anyway, deliciously damaged shit-rock for y’all.

Hear Hums - Malaise

It’s obvious from the first seconds of the opening “Veil”, that Malaise, the newest album from the Gainesville, FL based duo Hear Hums have grown more refined and mature since their 2012 album Opens. Since the previous album was whimsical and carefree in nature, almost childish, strongly reminiscent of early Animal Collective with their fluorescent psych folk, their newest release is much darker, with the disturbing artwork almost bordering on horror aesthetics. The meticulous sound design reminds me of Amon Tobin’s Foley Room, combining field recordings with droning mysteries, turning fever dreams into nightmares, where wonder meets dread and the faeries have turned into demons. Playtime is over, time to wander the dreadhalls.

Oddgrad - Treatment

The Madrid based label Go Finger collects the fresh and the undiscovered in the Spanish techno underground, ripping throught he surface with a new album by Oggrad. Treatment is an explosion of warehouse sleaze pumping forth among the smeared Tulpa-like bloops and bleeps. It provides a spook with its elongated, suspended dark ambient dynamics progressive forward at a plodding pace. The ghost of Andy Stott looms all over this album - this is dark, cold techno at its finest. Concrete alienation. Recommendation.

Karen Gwyer - Kiki the Wormhole

The work of the Iowa-born, London-based electronic producer Karen Gwyer has been hypnotizing ever since discovering her debut LP Needs Continuum about two months ago. From the first seconds of the opening "Sugar Tots" I knew I was in love. Droning, monotonous melodies crawl up and down while the deconstructed & slowed down techno/house beats unveil into a nearly Gas-like hypnotic, dazed state. This release by Karen was released via the leading mutant techno label Opal Tapes. Three lengthy tracks evolve and grow around slowly, like the fungus in the corner of the room over time. Or mold. The sounds of this tape are paradoxically clear and murky, the endless two-note shuffle in the background gives a propulsive, while the main melody expands and mutates into a sort of ever-repetitive, minimalistic version of Amber era Autechre (or a similar work from early Warp Records). Each track is longer. The time gets stretched, the sounds grow busier and more enveloping. One keeps listening until their entire body is disintegrated within the ambiental drone techno. Higly recommended!

Wifi Calisthenics - Wave Paint

The bouncy, weirdo pop of Wifi Calisthenics' Wave Paint might be an indication of what James Ferraro could possibly sound like if he dropped the anti-social, basement dwelling weirdo bullshit and actually approach the music creation from the joyous, outspoken side. While the all-caps tagging of the album might seem too much in-your-face to be enjoyed, the album still works with joyous distorted pop of tracks like “Body in the Night” or the digitally soiled soul of “Lost Mazes”. Wave Paint cleverly conceals catchy pop melodies under layers of crunchy distortion and digital clipping to achieve the status of the perfect super-bedroom pop album nobody ever heard about. Expect a 180 gram vinyl reisue in some 30 years or so. For now, let’s just enjoy the free download and try to make heads and tails out of this somewhat chopped digital mess, which hides a lot of promise under a lot of murk and glitch.

Hobo Cubes - Apex Ideals

If you’re familiar with the work of Montreal based synthesist Francesco De Gallo and his Hobo Cubes albums, you probably remember him for his endess summer style beatific mind beaches of Timeless/Mindless, where warm drones washed all over the place like fragile ocean spray. Well, with this year’s Apex Ideals (released on Debacle Records) it would be wise to change your flip flops and swimming trunks into a lab coat. Or even a radiation suit. On the newest release, De Gallo eschews slowly unfolding pastoral psychedelia for a cold, sterile algorithms that jut out brutally from the metallic, ominous ambience bubbling underneath. There are certain echoes of Confield era Autechre shining through the formaldehyde glitchyness reminiscent of John Wiese's least spastic moments. Innocence is over. Go back to work. Your laboratory is waiting.

Christopher Merritt - Imaginary Colors

Great fractured, multistory fried electronics from the forward-thinking Brooklynite Christopher Merritt, who’s doing his damn best to one up Sean McCann’s game before he went all symphonic and compositional and shit. Imaginary Colors - originally released on cassette on Orange Milk Records is a stack of seemingly dissonant, yet smoothly working together enlightened, acidic synth notes that play together into a glitched & whacked out ambience somewhere between Caboladies, Sunroof! and Tim Hecker. There is a certain delicacy, even fragility of music between the roughed, razed edges that bear signs of heavy usage and frequent sonic, sensory overload assaults. Imaginary music for imaginary music videos with imaginary color palettes.

Geist & the Sacred Ensemble - Beyond This Vessel

The latest release by the Seattle based dark haunted folk unit Geist & the Sacred Ensemble was released on Moon Glyph on a cassette back in November 2013. It continues the path the ensemble have started on their debut tape In Search of Fabled Lands in the form of nearly gothic, swampy hymns that combine smokey, oriental-gazing psychedelia with almost funeral-like, plodding manner of the band that recalls the darker, more pagan acts of the freak folk/New Weird America movement - comparisons with Wooden Wand or Jackie-O Motherfucker might be irresistible. Walking a fine line between songwriting brilliance and freeform occult journey. Your body is just a vessel - go beyond it!

Genetics and Windsurfing - Audio Stream Continuum

Yet another oddity from the newest batch of tapes from the Brooklyn trippertronics label Orange Milk Records. “Genetics and Windsurfing” sound strange put right beside each other. Like a mis-match in the thick yellow pages book or a department in the shopping centers of the future. Anyway, as heard on the tape, fusing a watersport with one of the most advanced fields of science can prove in some sound mutations gone amok. The solo work by Poland’s Daniel Jaśniewski keeps on delivering explosion after explosion of glitched out confusion littered with harsh notes and disjointed rhythms, sandwiched between the coldest Autechre moments and the fucked up dada beat collages of NHK’Koyxeи. Certainly challenging, undeniably adventurous.

Jolana Havelková & Lucie Vítková – Návrh na změnu partitury

This modern classical/minimalistic work by Czech visual artist Jolana Havelková and composer Lucie Vítková might not be the target kind of material for Weed Temple musically, but it’s a mighty interesting experiment in a conceptual sense, and I’m a sucker for all things conceptual. In this case, it’s the work of 19th century classical Czech composer František Kmoch, whose original works are reworked into abstract, fragmented pieces. First, Havelková would take the notation of Kmoch’s pieces and rework them into abstract pieces of art. Then Lucie Vítková would come in to work on those notations, filled with topsy-turvy sounds that sound almost completely improvised and unstructured at first, but gradually become highly emotional pieces, as fragmented and detached as they might be. Silence and breaks between the sounds play a big part here, as if to magnify and signify the importance of the sounds themselves, torn out of their original time and source and reworked into either pieces of cold minimalism or strange, idiot savant-style semi-melodies for accordion, piano, harmonica, organ or voice. Released on CD and as digital download by the Slovakian experimental label LOM.

Ancient Ocean - Wien

Oh, how wonderful was it one day to come back from work a little earlier than usual and find a fresh batch of tapes from the lyserigic-traum Austrian label Feathered Coyote Records. When I got myself to drown in the sound of the Wien cassette by Brooklyn based dronengineer John Bohannon, alias Ancient Ocean. He’s already done a split with Expo ‘70, so you can expect Bohannon’s sound to be pretty similar. The first side of the tape is a recording of a live performance given in the city of Wien, a wailing, echoing and ping-ponging nuclear desert shredding that gradually gets faster, more intricate and rawer, becoming something between monumental stoner rock held in formaldehyde and ringing, hypnotic black metal riff frozen in time. Side B was recorded in Brooklyn with some studio overdubs added. This is an exploration of a new territory, filled with rawer, almost tectonic swelling and falling drone-notes reminiscent of ELEH or (nearly) Lustmord. It’s much more spooky, kinda like Sunn O))) circa Black One stripped of hyper-amplified electric guitars and given analog synths instead. Well, they could get it much heavier than Ancient Ocean probably, but the formula and idea stays. This is some heavy droneage, even for the seasoned cloud-surfers;. But you should try it, anyway. Maybe you should check this out, if hardly anything blows your mind anymore. I dunno. Go for it.

German Army - Barrineans

The German Army continue their unstoppable march through the scorched earth of deep cassette underground dropping disorienting, sense-mixing sound bombs with every stop they make along the way in labels around the world. The newest Wunderwaffe comes from the Floridian label Lava Church with the Barrineans tape. They further enhance their rhythmical, industrially ambiental sound with tighter, more well-placed samples and more focus on building mood and strangely wandering melodies than just noisy, trippertronic clatter. There are plunderphonic and sample-based leanings mixed with krautrock’s electronic legacy with their Cluster-like soloes and the analog, bare-bones sound. Walk this strange soundscape by yourself, discover the Barrin Sonic Wasteland.

Petrels - Onkalo

If you were ever thinking “Is there anyone else quite like Sean McCann in this world?”, then the work of the London resident Oliver Barrett, operating under the moniker Petrels might be the answer. Operating in the very similar area of morphing and modifying modern classical instrumentarium for the needs of glitchy drone and ambient music, he molds the walls of strings into shimmering, solid crystalline towers that seem fragile and delicate at first but turn out to be nearly indestructible, immune to weather or wars. It’s a raw, slowly emerging sound, like a cleaner version of Tim Hecker or a harsher Christian Fennesz, with a bit of choir beauty thrown here or there among the nearly post-apoc war drums or searing white noise textures. Deep, dark and unrelenting. Highly recommended.