Burial Hex, the well established pseudonym of experimental singer-songwriter Clay Ruby, has reached its calculated end. Last week, Ruby put out The Hierophant, the most graceful finish conceivable for his long-running project. On past efforts, Burial Hex almost always had me wondering at what point a piece of music might be considered sui generis – his style has clear elements of darkwave, death industrial, and modern classical music, but this has always struck me as a trifling observation to say the least. I believe The Hierophant, fittingly Ruby’s most holistic statement to date, confirms this. So, I can really only set up the above title track by calling it a “Burial Hex song” and hope that’s enough to grab your attention.
Although this ‘death’ was prophesied or whatever, I can’t help but be sad that there won’t be any more Burial Hex music. Fingers crossed that like the recently concluded Dirty Beaches, Ruby will continue exploring his own sound under different names, but as is, he has given us one of the greatest avant-garde albums of the year. Anyway, I feel I should pay my respects: R.I.P. Burial Hex.
The Hierophant is out now via Handmade Birds.
Last month, Alex Zhang Hungtai announced the laying to rest of his long-running and acclaimed no-wave singer-songwriter alias Dirty Beaches. The recently released Stateless was packed with gorgeous drones and was thankfully an elegant end for the project.
There was a silver lining to this news: Hungtai announced that new music under different handles would be coming as soon as 2015. Lo and behold, he has already delivered over 20 minutes of music under the pseudonym Last Lizard. The 18-minute-long “Dickie’s Theme” and the below 4 minute excerpt from “Detroit” are billed as “tenor sax and tape experiments,” in a similar vein as some of the material on Stateless. Try to imagine The Disintegration Loops constructed only out of layered tenor sax sounds – if you can, then you ought to have a good idea of what you’re in for.
R.I.P. Dirty Beaches. Long live Last Lizard!
Here’s something that caught my ears while wading through Bandcamp earlier today. Kijinoise is a Chinese musician who has been uploading projects quite prolifically since late last month, using solely a guitar to deliver a fuzzy fusion of drone, noise, progressive rock, doom, and free improvisational elements. The results haven’t been totally mind-blowing thus far, but I must say the textures of this self-titled debut are actually quite nice, almost achieving a Sunn O)))-level heaviness at points. Find this guy a label! In the meantime, I’ll just wait a few more days for another release.
Update: It appears as though all the above linked projects have been consolidated into this first one, since renamed Kijinoise XIV.
Kye, the record label of one of my very favorite artists Graham Lambkin, has put out its final two releases of 2014. The first is Australian novelist Matthew Revert‘s Not You, a singer-songwriter project with lo-fi and electroacoustic inclinations, as you’ll find with cut “The Heart’s Heartbeat” below. And the second is the self-titled debut of fellow Australian act Food Court, the collaboration between avant-classical and electroacoustic practitioners James Rushford, Joe Talia, and Francis Plagne. Hear an excerpt from the album above. Enjoy!
On its 12th album, Norway’s eminent free improvisational outfit Supersilent is still managing to turn out some pretty evocative and extraordinary music. Having dabbled in avant-garde jazz, EAI, noise, and experimental rock throughout its career, the trio now finds itself in a decidedly dark ambient place. Just listen to 12‘s opening track – Arve Henriksen’s forlorn trumpet drifts and stabs out through a murk of synthesized wind courtesy of Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten. Listening to the track is like slowly losing consciousness in a cave leaking hazardous gas. Thankfully, Supersilent is still capable of delivering inspired material to keep the listener the right kinds of intoxicated and breathless.
12 is out now via Rune Grammofon.
While Sunn o))) and Scott Walker make the effort to accommodate one another on this new collaborative album, the chemistry isn’t as explosive as I had hoped.
OK, I want to give a quick shout-out to this latest collaboration between seasoned electro-acoustic/drone/avant-garde/whatever artists Kevin Drumm and Jason Lescalleet - with The Abyss, they have turned out what is without question one of the darkest, most abject musical works I’ve ever heard. I don’t have anything intelligent to say about it – go to TMT for that shit – but if you’re looking for the murkiest of “mood albums,” I can’t recommend this thing enough. Admittedly, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to take excerpts from a project so atmospheric, but in case anyone’s feeling curious or brave, find a 9-minute snippet from the 50-minute-long closer above and the decidedly more eventful “Anger Alert” below. Godspeed!
The Abyss is out now via Erstwhile Records.
Last month, Houston-based avant-garde rapper and musician B L A C K I E announced a new studio full-length titled IMAGINE YOURSELF IN A FREE AND NATURAL WORLD. No release date yet, but this lead single “None Above” has me properly excited. The track is a crashing, kaleidoscopic wall of sound, with wailing from B L A C K I E forced to the background and just barely audible. It’s beautifully brutal. Or brutally beautiful? Whatever; it’s awesome! Check it out!