Aïsha Devi’s Danse Noire imprint returns with this absorbing new album of glassy electronics and futuristic soundscaping from French-Canadian newcomer Racine, sitting somewhere in between the artificial life forms of Kara-Lis Coverdale’s ‘Aftertouches' album, the sweeping vistas of Autechre’s ‘Amber' and Arca at her most glacial.
Transmuting the worries of the world into sorely bittersweet electronic compositions, 'Quelque Chose Tombe' (something falls) offers a fully realised sound that makes a virtue of biting point dissonance, something that places Racine in good company among Danse Noire’s roster of fleshy conduits for what Aïsha Devi terms her "Spirit Liberation Front”. Fluidly adept at speaking the language of hyper-contemporary electronic music, they gradually sketch out a labyrinthine album intended to reflect a modern life of “grinning through worry, living in insecurity”, where “to be vulnerable is the new normal; afraid, a bare minimum”.
Racine wring as much emotion as possible from each curdled chord and warbling note in fractal patterns that connote the elusive nature of the future and the intense flux of emotions that never seem to go anywhere, but only compound into feedback loops of anxiety and impotent anguish as the bridges burn in front of us. They run from the remarkable ‘Sujet’ - a dead ringer for some of Kara-Lis Coverdale’s most emotionally absorbing and complex work, to the sublime 'Désordre Baroque’, where the same motifs are wrapped around barely-noticeable key changes that remind us of Talk Talk’s 'Laughing Stock's quietest moments, before a heavily vocoded voice fractures into several trajectories all at once, like mercury slivers on the loose.
By the time ‘Geranium’ arrives, choral voices, flutes and distortion take things to more epic and forlorn dimensions, with "Sans Titre” prescribing drone and bird song as a kind of short-lived catharsis.
The cult techno outfit "Teste" digs up and re-transmits sonic archives forming a new 2LP for L.I.E.S.
"Teste was still-born by the mid-90’s and with the ensuing PTSD I had become a SHUT IN working on the Amiga Computer for Audio and Video and completely immersed in grisly, depraved art-house cinema. This release pays homage to that time in NYC when I frequented Mondo Kims daily to rent the trashiest films I could find. Things like Richard Kern’s “Fingered”, Nick Zedds’s “They Eat Scum”, Makavejev “Sweet Movie”, Merhige “Begotten” all the classicks! The 42nd Street Mind forever! In retrospect I can’t believe they gave me a membership card! Wish I still had it!
One day it’s 1992 playing absurd Teste gigs in a Sports Bar (Tailgate Charlie’s!) in scenic Hammer Onterrible opening up for Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials! You could just feel the love in that room! Referred to as the “Toilet Incident” by unsuspecting attendees. From that debacle another unfolded in an infamous “final” appearance at the Pure Party in Glasgow Barrowlands 1994 -which proved an unceremonious demise to the first incarnation of Teste… Details like most things from that era are foggy… No insta stories or tweets! Just instant cameras that didn’t always make it out of the rave!
After the Teste fallout then embarking on another Techno adventure for an extended stint in NYC from ’95-97. This proved a pivotal time to say the least. HUREN becoming a solo entity and the lasting shockwaves with Zhark which was a New York label in those days. Also in retrospect I can say I experienced the end of the NYC of old right when the “NO DANCING” by-laws were coming in. R.I.P Strange?, Sonic Groove (Manhattan),Liquid Sky/Temple, Save The Robots, Soundlab, Tunnel, Twilo, Limelight and others that slip the memory banks…
All I knew of NYC when I got off that Greyhound the first time in Port Authority in 95 after an 11 hour drive was from movies. I thought the city was like what I had seen in Abel Ferrara films “Driller Killer”, “King of New York’ “Bad Lieutenant” or the Schoolly D, or Wu-Tang Clan videos! Turns out I wasn’t too far off in a way as this was the era of the Club Kids depravity.
Upon reflection my formative clubbing years had an element of Crime in them as I’ve been in the proximity of two very well known serial killers. First in the 80’s when I attended a club Paul Bernardo used to Frequent in Ontario and later on the Limelight NYC with Michael Alig. Definitely casts a sinister tinge to some of the memories. Curious coincidence the party I performed at in NYC was called KILLER… And I myself was almost murdered in 2012 but that’s another story…"
The GRM’s artistic director and Sunn O)))’s force of nature evoke vast shadowlands and illuminated cave systems in the premiere of their masterful duo recordings, rendering stunning, panoramic desert scenes filmed at dusk. It sounds like a more muted, introspective take on Neil Young’s 'Dead Man’ OST, via Bohren & Der Club of Gore after the jazz lights have gone out.
‘Cylene’ is only the 2nd release under François Bonnet’s name following more than a decade of explorative electro-acoustic releases made as Kassel Jaeger, and also his first outing with O’Malley. In its seven parts, the duo scout liminal zones of perception where the listener’s senses of space, time and texture are reordered and questioned.
In comparison to what we’ve heard of O’Malley’s previous work (and that’s a fair bit), the album features some of his starkest, most spectral guitar work, strikingly possessing the smoky nature of Loren Connors meditations or Keiji Haino at his quietest. However, that distinction is also down to Bonnet’s work behind the curtain, rendering and altering the guitar lines direction mid-air and making proceedings tremble with near infrasonic subtlety.
“Cylene is infinitely rewarding for those that succumb to its delicate detours. A vast glacial plain unfurls slowly upon the listener invoking a mood similar to the stillness found following despair. As Joseph Ghosn succinctly outlines in his liner notes, “Stephen and François deal in those moments and instants that happen after the violence, and the ugliness and the mess.
Their music is about chaos being summoned and ordered. It is about the noise that nurtures your ears after a long heartbreaking pain. I have heard the sounds of wars being fought and the noises of hearts being broken, and I have never found a shelter as soothing as this music which makes me think of sunken ships and beauty found in the depths of oceans long forgotten”.”
An album to get properly lost in.
Mark Korven uses a range of anxiety-inducing instrumentation to soundtrack Robert Eggers film about two Lighthouse keepers, or “wickies” holding fast to a rock in shitty weather.
Directed by Riobert Eggers and starring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as the “wickies”, ‘The Lighthouse’ is underscored by a fittingly tempestuous soundtrack rich with dark harmonics and gripping textures that help emphasise the imagery. To our ears the music reveals everything from Sir Richard Bishop & W. David Oliphant’s ‘Beyond All defects’ to the bleak expanses of Deathprod and Kevin Drumm in foul weather mode. No denying most copies will be purchased for that die cut sleeve, though.
Big Thief's Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, songs and instrumentals, out October 23rd on 4AD. songs and instrumentals are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to coronavirus. After returning to the states from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts.
"Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker announces two new albums, ‘songs and instrumentals’, out on 4AD. ‘songs and instrumentals’ are two distinct collections, both written and recorded in April after Big Thief’s March tour was abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. After returning to the States from Europe, Lenker decamped to a one room cabin in the mountains of western Massachusetts."