Over the past several years there’s been an influx of quality live techno and industrial in Brooklyn’s local music scene, buoyed by labels like L.I.E.S., Primitive Languages, and Ascetic House’s newly formed east coast presence. It’s found many homes— Bossa Nova, Fitness, Nothing Changes—, including Williamsburg bar Over The Eight where Ciarra Black (who you may also know as 1/2 of Appetite) has been helping throw, perform, and DJ the monthly NO-TECH parties.
She has a new tape coming this summer on Unknown Precept, the Berlin-based label that recently put out Nick Klein’s Failed Devotee EP. “Chemical Burn” is a new track from it, built from a disorienting metallic swish and caustic percussive clips. The strict aggression of it’s groove makes one stand up straight but numb, fading into purgatorial chills after an intense flame. You can stream it below via Ciarra’s Soundcloud.
Ciarra’s new tape on Unknown Precept is due out in summer 2015. She and Jane Chardiet will be putting out a new tape as Appetite for Ascetic House this month as well. Ciarra will also be playing a benefit show on Thursday (4/2) at Saint Vitus as part of a benefit for Jane.
A mere year after clearing out our collective sinuses with his head-throttling cassette Strain, Miguel Alvariño has returned with a new 12" of furiously inventive techno. The Brooklynite's latest EP Participation doesn't take any gigantic leaps beyond the overdriven assault of his previous work. As this track demonstrates, it simply drives the wedge between the eyes a little deeper, with bass notes custom built to split the skull clean in two. All the better to allow the angry swarms of noise ping-pong around inside.
The saxophone on Downtown Boys’ latest track “Future Police” is as essential as it was to X-Ray Spex’s defining '70s sound. Here, it signifies a similar thing: a refusal to be marginalized, and a passion unmatched. The Providence, R.I. punks released this track following the bilingual blitz that was “Monstro,” the first single off their new album, Full Communism. “Future Police” is yet more off-kilter, and catchy with its call and response vocals spewed with a vengeance. Determined and socially minded while simultaneously begging to be danced to, Downtown Boys are reclaiming punk one sax hook at a time.
This week, Chicago guitar maven Ryley Walker releases his stellar jazz-folk album, Primose Green, on Dead Oceans. We invited him to share some songs that he's been feeling lately, and the selections are as infectious as they are diverse, not unlike the music from the man himself. Enjoy a smattering of deep jams including some prog, spiritual jazz, and, of course, British folk music.
Mulatu Astatke: "Emnete"
First got into Mulatu through the Ethiopiques compilations. Really heady, downbeat, deep-fried acid post-bop nuclear compositions. Sunday morning music for Saturday night people.
Health & Beauty: "Mary"
Great tune from my great friends. Health & Beauty is Brian Sulpizio, Ben Boye, and Frank Rosaly-- all of whom play alongside me on record and in a live setting. Really sweet lyrics and compositions. Brian makes it look so easy. I'm proud to work and live with these guys. It's the band in Chicago that every band says is their favorite band. It's God damn true.
Prurient's upcoming 3xLP/2xCD Frozen Niagara Falls is shaping up to be the best combination of Merzbow, second wave black metal, and John Carpenter the world has ever seen. Some may have had doubts about Dominick Fernow's direction since the NYC noise legend began to focus on an '80s synth pop sound instead of his Masonna freak-out stylings on records such as Bermuda Drain and Through The Window. Any uncertainties as to whether a Prurient record could still make heads explode should be totally abandoned, as Frozen Niagara Falls incorporates all the best ideas he's had in the past ten years into one magnum opus that doesn't lean too heavily into one approach over another. You can now check out the first track released from the album, "Dragonflies To Sew You Up." Deathly screams and field recordings aside, it's one of the only accessible "singles" you're likely going to get from this beast of a record.
Chicago's Axis: Sova are no dilettantes in the psych rock scene. Since the release of their debut LP Weight of a Color in 2012, Brett Sova and company have been honing a thick, murky sound that rides on warped riffs-- what Sova terms "low-brow, high-impact." The title track of Axis: Sova's recent Early Surf is a droning instrumental that gives renewed life to a single cyclical riff, starting out pretty clean before tossing itself into waves of distortion and feedback. Meanwhile, the accompanying video by brownshoesonly and RadioEditAV is the track's ideal visual counterpart. Using cameras hooked up to an LZX Visionary video synthesizer to project back onto the band in real time, the film brings us live optical feedback that pulls in the whole color spectrum and gets progressively less real with time. It's an immersive experience that reflects Sova's continual emphasis on creating from play and accident.
Early Surf is available now via Ty Segall's saucily named Drag City imprint God?. Check tour dates after the jump.
Activia Benz's Singles Club is a website on which the UK label posts a song with accompanying hyperreal, New Hive-friendly artwork every two weeks. The latest installment comes from Ohio polymath Giant Claw, a.k.a. Keith Rankin of Orange Milk Records and designer of previousAdHoczine covers. Giant Claw's contribution to the series, "Love Alive," sits comfortably on top of other singles in the club from people like Alfred English, Maxo, Morgan Hislop, and more: all of them frenetic-but-sparse, defiantly weird and unabashedly fun. Like many of the tracks on Giant Claw's DARK WEB, "Love Alive" is built around pitched-up vocal samples and clear, high-tempo melodic interjections; however, the more streamlined "Love Alive" resembles a little more a straightforward pop or R&B song: just one playing in Pee-Wee's Playhouse.
Viscosity can be understood as a measure of internal friction, the resistance of a substance to deformation. Still, much of the stuff we think of as viscous quivers at the edge of deformation, neither static nor entirely fluid. It’s this tension that animates “Touch Me & Die,” the second piece on Kara-Lis Coverdale’s new album, Aftertouches. At first, the tone of the piece-- serene, meandering-- seems disconnected from the hostility of its title. However, as the piece develops, it deepens. Added tones imbue the airy twinkle of the song’s foundational flute loop with potential power. Like the digital water thrashing at the edge of an invisible container or the ominous crumbling buildings of the video, "Touch Me & Die" makes clear the always present possibility of a sudden outpour.
The anonymous electronic artist Rrose has risen to prominence this decade as a producer of ecstatic yet violent techno, with their gender-bending DJ persona and exquisitely brutal dance music introduced to the world by the late Sandwell District. Following last year's dizzying Pentagons on Rrose's own Eaux imprint, the artist has now taken on avant-minimalist composer James Tenney's classic piece "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion" for a release on Further Records a spate of gong performances, including one at the West Park Presbyterian Church in Manhattan this Thursday alongside Demdike Stare, who will perform a score to the classic occult film Haxan. Consisting of a single note, marked "very long," with gradual dynamic markings on either side, Tenney's composition has startling similarities to Rrose's monolithic productions. In advance of the Manhattan performance we sent Daniel Martin-McCormick—better known to many as Ital, another New York-based techno explorer with connections to the avant garde—to investigate Rrose's background in contemporary classical music and thoughts on the intersection of composition and electronic music craft.
DMM: First of all I’m curious how you picked "Having Never Written a Note for Percussion."
R: Well the kind of pieces that I choose to perform myself, like composed pieces, are these ones that involve endurance and lot of repetition, [that] lend themselves to this deep concentration and gradual process. I performed Charlemagne Palestine’s "Strumming Music" for piano and studied with him to do that. But you know I’m not a virtuoso player of any instrument, so the kinds of things I choose to do are not about that.
I discovered the Tenney piece a long time ago but the idea to play it came up when I went on a tour of these tunnels under downtown DC when I was living there. There's an organization called the Dupont Underground that is trying to revive the space for public use. And so they were giving small private tours to people. And when I went down there I immediately had the idea to do some kind of sound performance down there, just because the acoustics, they were so amazing. And that piece just came to mind because it was one that I knew I could do, and it just seemed like… Well, one thing is that piece is generally performed in concert halls and it’s usually a fairly short duration. So I thought this is a really unique space to perform this in and I would want to do a really long performance of it.
If you ever wondered who are some of the most devoted acolytes of Kosmische Musik (or maybe, given the French title of their new album, Musique Cosmique) and minimalism, it must be Chicago's Bitchin Bajas, the trio of Cooper Crain, Dan Quinlivan, and Rob Frye. "Marimba," a new track from the forthcoming LP (and cassette) sounds like a pure distillation of early electronic rhythms and endlessly looping notes bathing in the Teutonic glow. The titular marimbas bounce and tangle among the almighty sequencer while the shiny synth waves and ethereal flute push things up into the bliss territory.