Phil Western and Mark Spybey together again! Well at least for two tracks that is. Dead Voices on Air, one of Spybey’s many projects, once again takes us to new and exotic locations. Amid their album photography on the digipak we’re whisked to far-off Argentina amid the beautiful landscape of Patagonia taken by Argentinean artist Marco Roberti. In addition to his collaboration with Western, Spybey enlists American-Serbian singer Ivana Salipur to assist on the title track, a track that is inspired by the Serbian poet Desanka Maksimovic, a poet perhaps most famous for poems regarding the atrocities committed by German soldiers during World War II. The album is Dead Voice on Air’s 14th and their 2nd collection released on seminal Lens Records. Songs range from ethnic world ambience to experimental to pure relaxing ambient. I’m constantly amazed at how Spybey and likeminded audiences are able to create such intense ambient pieces that just ooze attention-grabbing passion. Yet another notch on the proverbial belt of essential for DVOA.
Posts tagged ambient
Two tracks written as a non-song but one long-form poem that is both spoken word and sung lyrics by Chris Connelly and his varied assembly of guests, “How This Ends” is the soundtrack to doom and melancholy. Featuring contributors such as Sugar Bullet’s Izi Coonagh, Tania Bowers of Via Tania fame, Bill Rieflin known for his diverse work with bands such as R.E.M., Ministry, and Swans, and David Levine, “How This Ends” is a stark soundscape devoid of true composition but glowing red with the pulse of improvisation and controlled chaos. There is more than just harsh white noise and penetrating terror; indeed there are sinewy lines of piano, synth pads, and underlying rhythms. But it all centers around the poem, a flowing free-verse of intrigue and a glimpse inside the melting pot of Connelly’s genius and showcases him as a Renaissance Man and artist. Perfect for the left-of-center crowd who strives to find a unique gem out there.
Astonishingly gripping dark ambient and noise that is filtered through brainy nuances of druggy soundscapes, Maurizio Bianchi’s latest on Tourette Records (I’ve never heard of a more fitting moniker for an experimental music record label). There’s a depth here yet an urgent sense of brevity that counterbalances each of the six tracks. Not to say that these are quick ballads of bright white noise; indeed the shortest is just a tad under 8 minutes in length. Instead each tune focuses on a sense of manic solitude wrapped in looping and manipulated electronic pulses and waves. Beautiful, sad, and emotional, “YNOHPMYS” will challenge everything you previously thought about experimental music living up to ‘symphony’ the backwards album title suggests.
When people mutter the word “crossover” in regards to music, I find it usually is a reference to two possibilities – one being that it’s a “nu-metal” type band from the ‘90s in the vein of Korn or Deftones or hell even Limp Bizkit, and the second being even worse, an excuse for not being able to write music that’s good, thus using a genre crutch to get by the simple fact that your band can’t write anything cohesive or imaginative. Slow Six has convinced me that there’s a third; a genuine crossover that crosses the genres of classical in the traditional sense with electronic music in the semi-traditional sense – and I’ve found that more and more bands in this hybrid genre are being self-referential when saying the ‘c’ word. Interesting how music and the verbiage to describe it constantly is evolving, huh?
Slow Six – Tomorrow Becomes You
The music of this breed is one that is both a stripped down and raw acoustic-electro experiment that refuses to abandon the structures that classical music has eschewed for a handful of centuries now. “Tomorrow Becomes You” is somewhat prophetic in this sense, offering a new style of minimalism that darts and dashes through high-brow melodies harmonious with slow-building cacophonies of sound that simply overwhelm the senses. Crafting soundscapes this rich and surrounding, almost to the point of sonic suffocation is no doubt a challenge, but one that Slow Six has raised the bar in creating. Even more elating that the timeless pieces of music that the group has composed is the fact that Christopher Tignor, who is both the band’s violinist and resident software engineer, has released his custom written music software to the general public available for free on their website. Stunning people, stunning. This is a must-have for 2010 – they’re touring in support of “Tomorrow Becomes You” and if you are lucky enough to see one of their shows, please leave comments, I’d be fascinated to know what that experience is like.
Listen and watch a live rendition of “Echolalic Transitions” as performed on WFMU:
Slow Six – “The Pulse of This Skyline with Lightning Like Nerves” with video art by Shimpei Takeda:
Frigid synthetic unmelodies collide with industrial-sized caustic noise and abrasive metal clanks and clicks forge the audible nightmare that is “Soul Cleansing”. Sektor 304 is industrial in the vein of early era Einsturzende Neubauten, Godflesh, and Clock DVA (Jeffrey Dahmer’s favorite band). Noise and apocalypse never sounded so uninviting and yet so seductive. Atmospheric blends of soundscapes with percussion that hammers away at your eardrums, tantalizing your soul. If Sektor 304 sounds like a nightmare factory that’s because it is – this assembly line is one that builds the robots of the future that take over Earth and obliterate Mankind.
Mark Spybey is one of the biggest geniuses in the post-industrial music scene. His 11th album under the Dead Voices on Air moniker is yet another giant leap forward for mankind’s adventures in sound. “Fast Falls the Eventide” is a meticulous carving out of aural inspirations dotted with spectral soundscapes, huge rhythms, and masterful experimentations. The 2nd disc is actually a re-release of the long out of print 1994 cassette-only release “Abrader” that was launched on Japanese label G.R.O.S.S. The second disc also features two previously unreleased tracks collaborating with cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy, Download, Doubting Thomas) with Key’s interesting melting of a moog synthesizer and banging on a barrel drum with Mark’s odd backdrop of noise and musical alliteration. Spybey’s music has long been a personal inspiration for me, whether it was his forays with Download, the atmospheric intrigue of :Zoviet France:, or his collaboration with Robin Storey (Rapoon) in his side project Reformed Faction. Ranging from caustic missionaries of mania to nightmarish dream soundtracks or sparsely woven ambient tapestries, Spybey always seems to hit on all cylinders. Catchy it is not, absolutely essential it for sure is. The main disc of the release is a lengthy node of winded and sweeping synthesizers, aural ambience, manipulated samples, and nested noise. Truly a caricature of perfected post-industrial compositions, “Fast Falls the Eventide” may very well be one of the most interesting releases of 2009.
Writing an album about a landscape in northern England doesn’t sound like a very interesting nor topical subject but when you listen and discover that this album written by a founding member of Zoviet France in Robin Storey is based around Britain’s wastelands that house their Cold War intercontinental ballistic missile sites, efforts for launching a Briton into space, and other top secret research facilities your ears percolate with the mysterious and doom. Rapoon’s “Dark Rivers” is riddled with murky cold watery synthetic dankness, gloomy superstitious and ominous tones that are as wild, uncontrollable, and remote as the region itself. Thumbs up big time.
The joy of listening to an album by Download is deciphering and breaking down each element to the complex sound collage that makes up each and every track. “Sorcear” is a perfect example, trolling about with an almost raunchy bassline and rhythm track, there’s exhausting bleeps, noises, and distorted sounds emanating from the speakers in a random yet controlled chaotic setting. “Zass Pie” continues with yawning voice samples that seem to whisper subversive hints into each ear only to be stood up tall with a military-esque kick drum and blasts of filtered rhythms. Over the years, cEvin Key (Skinny Puppy, pLateaU, Doubting Thomas, etc.) has honed his craft into an ambient textured orchestrated chaos with fittings of pure keyboard bliss, distorted and tangled sound effects, and mangled samples that reek of bong residue. Key over the years has easily been recognized as one of the most influential artists in the electronic circuit surpassing the likes of Autechre, Nine Inch Nails, and even the mighty Aphex Twin who now seem to follow his grace with rabid fascination. Twisted acidic breakbeats haunt many of the tracks with a renewed focus on dance rhythms that are broken, tossed into the air, only to rain down upon our ears. Each album that Download seems to pen casts aside previous futuristic sounds for a chaotic future of disco breaks that no one ever sees coming. Perhaps the most intriguing element of “FiXeR” is its uncanny ability to connect with the listener on so many different planes of existence–I could easily sit still and absorb each tune, as well as get up and attempt to dance, or leave it as background music while reading; but it really gets its vibe off proper when the listener allows each cast-off melody, every broken beat, and all singularly textured and heavily effected soundwave wash over him or her seeming to will a mirror of the listener’s soul and thought patterns out in a playful way. Astonishing and perhaps one of the best all-time electronic albums.
Phil Western and Mark Spybey met in the Canuckistani capitol of Vancouver, Ontario while performing with Download, a band that featured ex-Skinny Puppy members (at the time) cEvin Key and Dwayne Goettel. Recorded across the Atlantic Ocean via England and L.A. with file-sharing software, “Beehatch” dissolves quickly from a peaceful ambient piece into a sculpture of noise and dead-space tones. Phil Western’s duties as a DJ and producer amplify his work alongside Spybey, whose own signature sound alongside Dead Voices on Air and Reformed Faction (ex-Zoviet France) have elevated him among one of the electronic underground’s most sought after voice. Tactile tickling sensations of music collage with tight beat loops and crafty synthetics are but one reason that this album liberates the electronic music world from the tired and repetitive.