A project formed in the mid-'80s by Tori Kudo and Reiko Kudo in Japan, Maher Shalal Hash Baz has evolved and gone through a number of transformations with a consistently rotating cast of band members. Hello, New York, the group's first release since 2009, was created while the band was visiting New York City for a 30th anniversary performance in September 2014: OSR label founder Zach Phillips brought members of the band and an assortment of other musicians together to record during their stay. Hello, New Yorkis a wild melding of musical energy. Short interludes stitch together songs and blissfully passionate jam sessions. The ecstatic nature of playing music bleeds through these recordings; they exist as a document and also a carrier of feeling—a richly layered sonic experience.
Noah Anthony's long-running project Profligate returns with the self-released Abbreviated Regime. The new album cultivates richly euphonious songs that are both deeply transformative and spiritually moving. Billowing aural entanglements blossom into slowly burning ballads full of haunting harmonies; hovering synthesizers coalesce to form an ecstatically immersive sonic mass. On album highlight "Enlist," sharply fragmenting arpeggios ripple beneath the pulse of a transfixing vocal loop. Throughout, Anthony's tender crooning is woven amongst the trickles of noise radiating between floating tones; the words are subtle and pensive, while evoking a turmoil that is slowly absorbed by a restless void.
Amsterdam's Boris Post crafts spastic electronic music under the moniker Eindkrak. Post's debut album on Unknown Precept, Divine Bovine is a work of jarring complexity. Its slithering synthesizers move in tandem, spawning a supersaturated sonic solution. "The Slow Milk Dance" slowly cools the searing magma that obtrudes from the depths of Divine Bovine. "Ontvreemd" howls with manic ferocity, its muffled vocals bleed through a network of whirling synthesizers and battered beats. The album's title track, "Divine Bovine" crawls as a haunted warble, slowly accelerating into aural equilibrium. The hissing purr of Eindkrak's lofty tones are met with propulsive rhythms from another star cluster. Even through the entangled bones of its aberrant skeleton, it is possible to peer within its preposterous protoplasm.
Rick Weaver returns with an immaculate full length, Blue Sky—a rigorously far-out pop album floating in a space of its own. Weaver crafts contorted song structures that get stuck in your head while simultaneously causing a vestigial reflex. Blue Sky is a children's story set in a mythological wild west that was introduced on Weaver's album Tomb of Comb a few years ago. Mesmerizing harmonic textures surge erratically, while Weaver's poetic lyrics conjure visions of a demented world cursed by violence and injustice. Continuing as a prequel to his last video, "KOs Obit", the video for "KOs Mask" is bizarre and profoundly mystifying. Weaver's visual language is deeply cryptic and inconspicuous. A painted face with a subtly shifting expression stares into the camera. The creeping transitions that occur in the video are a departure from Weaver's manic approach to songwriting. Hanging in a state of anticipation, the video creates an unnerving sensation of confusion and an unrequited resolution.
PHORK has been deconstructing dance music for quite some time, with an extensive catalog of enigmatic releases on labels such as NNA Tapes, Opal Tapes, Noumenal Loom, and Orange Milk Records. PHORK's latest release Disappear in Raveland, out on Time No Place is a brilliantly conceived world, cultivating an atmosphere of floating dissections that mutate beyond pre-established understandings of music. "We All Make Out (A Living)" is a perpetually shifting physical training session. Shedding layers like exoskeletons, everything tapers in and out of focus like a distant memory, slowly inching its way back into your consciousness. Oscillations dart in all directions, colliding into harmoniously skewed rhythms. PHORK builds a disorienting wall of absurdity that feels strangely familiar.
Shokuhin Maturi, a.k.a. FOODMAN's latest release, Hot Rice on Patient Sounds, is an explosively complex collection of densely populated rhythms. The Japanese footwork producer builds fragmentary layers that merge together, hovering as particles in the atmosphere. The pieces bounce against you, ricocheting toward different directions. "Ikidomari" has an ever evolving structure that explores gradual shifts in the spatial listening. Percussive timbres are projected in a billowing diffusion, moving as quickly as light, casting shadows that obscure any perception of cohesion. A tangible flow weaves its own trajectory, carving new grooves by breaking down and re-arranging its own construction.
Over the last year, the Berlin label Unknown Precept has been responsible for releasing a vibrant collection of compelling electronic music and are showing no signs of stopping. Their next release comes from Cienfuegos, the project of New York's Alexander Suárez, whose previous release on Primitive Languages was a cerebral seance of divine intervention. Crafting a delicately intricate framework of samples and percussion, Cienfuegos' A Los Mártires creates a warped skeleton of manipulated techno. The title track, "A Los Mártires" is a searing cauldron of palpitating reverberations. Imbued in murky layers, glistening frequencies pull in and out of the powerfully dense cloud that is continually being dissected by Suárez. In Chelsea Marks's video for "A Los Mártires," patterns of light bleed in and out of darkness, the shape-shfting movements mirroring the track beautifully. Images of people milking a snake of its venom causes a visceral unease, the music seems to cause a sensation of floating as if something is holding onto you pulling you upward. Spatially complex and figuratively alluring, A Los Mártires" delves into a deep crevice of metaphysical contemplation that can not be explained in words, that is transmitted through feeling.
Corey Bauer's duplication and distribution company, Cryptic Carousel is releasing Semiotic Recipes, the first in a series of VHS compilations. The series features a wide spectrum of boldly skewered perspectives on video art and music videos. From colorfully abstract videos with deeply resonant frequencies to fragmented repetitions of cut up infomercials, Semiotic Recipes is full of vivid video dreamscapes. Rob Feulner's video for German Army's song, "Major Outlet," traverses into the haunting territories of nightmares. Feulner borrows scenes from horror movies mixed with a bleeding static that creeps along, mirroring German Army's drifting vocals and pulsating rhythms. Faded scenes are injected with visual distortion as the VCR's tracking settings become disengaged.
Semiotic Recipes will be screening in full at Spectacle in Brooklyn on October 8. You can order the compilation on VHS here.
Philadelphia sonic mangler Unguent conjures up some deeply transfixing decompositions on their latest release, Otiose Pos, on Japan's birdFriend label. Otiose Pos is a lavish landscape of frenetic frequencies, a testament to Unguents agility with a modular synthesizer. The track "Aelf Lettuce" is full of sprawling sine waves that coalesce into a textural melting pot. A panning patchwork of oscillations collide together, and slowly modulates as a thick slime slowly drips down your throat and into your membranes. Unguent's deranged tones breathe their own form of oxygen, forming their own life cycle apart from anything on this planet.
Austin's Daniel Hipolito unveils a chilling excerpt from his newest effort under the moniker Smokey Emery. A hissing cauldron of tape loop tapestries, A Clear Dark, released on Greh Holger's long running Chondritic Sound label, is a grim eruption of sonic entrancement. "The Sun is Gone but I Have a Light" crawls slowly, as though passing beneath a rising fog. Its rupturing rhythms forge through a smoldering heat, blankets of soot fall to the floor. This track signals a slight shift from the rapturous droning ambience associated with Smokey Emery, projecting itself through driving force. We are still met with the overwhelming swell of synthesizers; their whirling fuzz reminiscent of a beehive, awaiting a chance to pollinate a field of wildflowers.