Black Spirituals – “Radiant”

With Of Deconstruction, Oakland free improvisation duo Black Spirituals has delivered one of the year’s greatest potpourri albums. Bassist and electronics operator Zachary James Watkins and percussionist Marshall Trammell found each of the album’s three substantial pieces on simple and vague grooves, exploring every bit of space they have to offer. Above, check out 20-minute opener “Radiant,” which rides modulated bass riffs, flourishes of static noise, and skittering drum fills through countless phases. Its effortless fusion of such styles as noise rock, avant-garde metal, EAI, free-jazz, and freaking cumbia, makes this perhaps the most expressive rock project I’ve heard all year. Enjoy!

Of Deconstruction is out now via SIGE Records. Although this is only Black Spirituals’ debut, they have apparently already garnered the attention of eminent electronic art musician and theorist Pauline Oliveros, who contributes a quote to the album’s Bandcamp page. Way to go!

Black To Comm – Self-Titled

Black To Comm is the experimental music project of sonic adventurer Marc Richter. Since the mid-00s, Marc’s been dropping loads of albums, splits, and even he even released a Scott Walker-esque video installation soundtrack back in 2012. However, Richter is bringing the project back to its roots on this new self-titled release, venturing through the sounds of ambient music, drone, and tape music as well.

The soundscapes on this album are dense, creative, and difficult to penetrate. Some are more minimal or abrasive than others, but all are simultaneously beautiful and intriguing.

Last Lizard – “Dickie’s Theme” / “Detroit” (Excerpt)

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!

Wilting Sun – Self-Titled

Some strange and relaxing drone and experimental music on this new Wilting Sun album here. While Wilting Sun is careful not to step into anything too accessible, there’s quite a bit of variety on the six tracks here. Some tracks, like the intro here, deliver a mind-numbing drone, but manage to maintain an unsettling atmosphere pregnant with tension. Other moments sound like they’re pulled straight out of the Tim Hecker or Boards of Canada playbook, combining beautifully haunting melodies with soul-crushing noise and fuzz . As the name implies, the music of Wilting Sun is apocalyptic, desolate, and an ideal soundtrack for the end times.

Vladislav Delay – “Visa Medley”

This week Finnish experimental electronica extraordinaire Sasu Ripatti (a.k.a. Vladislav Delay) dropped a new full-length album called Visa. On this new project, you will not find the rich dub influence of previous two LPs Vantaa and Kuopio; rather, Delay appears to be attempting a return to form…whatever that may be for him. Since the beginning, his work has in many novel ways challenged the conception of ambiance as a passive mode of music, and the five oft-sprawling pieces on Visa very much share this spirit. Delay’s music demands attention – his compositions are angular, his rhythms complex, his progressions combustive. Consequently, he has managed to remain quite a bit more “engaging” than your typical ambient artist. Lay your ears on a medley of Visa‘s tracks above, or stream the whole thing below via Delay’s Bandcamp. Enjoy!

Kijinoise – Kijinoise XIV

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.

Cut Hands – Festival of the Dead

As is the case with most African rhythmic music, it usually serves some sort of spiritual purpose, the ritualistic quality of many different beats and melodies designed to inspire, enlighten and heal–such as the one-two rhythm of the Rastafarians, mimicking the heartbeat, said to bring calmness, love and understanding.

Considering these quite heavy connotations that are attached to African rhythmic music, as a modern commercial performer in the genre, it’s quite easy to come across as a sell-out or a wannabe. Cut Hands DJ, William Bennet, has managed to surpass this accusation by instead creating soundscapes that are attributed to, but not based on, the aforementioned ancient rhythms. The dystopian measures wash over the listener in cadent waves, incorporating modern sounds but staying true to its origin, usually utilizing a single hollow bass drum beat, scratching taps and shuffles of snares and hats, and the occasional futuristic grind or drop.

It’s surprising how much originality can stem from such a simple formula, but Cut Hands’ new album, Festival of the Dead, has born some pretty crazy and original tracks. The intro song “The Claw” sets an appropriate mood for the next 45 minutes of gnashing, wailing, trapping and jamming. Preceded by the rather overrated Damballah 58Festival of the Dead is a suitable progression for Bennet in his study of rhythm. Although his sound is certainly remarkable and unique, it would have been interesting to see a slight break in the conspicuous formula he’s built up, like the incorporation of a subtle melody, but perhaps that would defy the whole point of his music. Anyway, I’m confident he’ll find his way forward on his own time.

- Fin Worrall

Supersilent – “12.1″

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.

Oren Ambarchi & Eli Keszler – “Alps I” (Extract)

This one’s a doozy! Percussive madmen Oren Ambarchi and Eli Keszler have teamed up for a compulsive cacophony of drums and guitar called Alps. Comprised of two sprawling and free-form pieces, the collaboration is a thick amalgam of free improvisation, drone, and noise rock elements. If you’re into these three styles, this thing is a must-listen. Sample ten intense minutes of the LP above. Enjoy!

Alps is out now via Dancing Wayang Records.

Gnaw Their Tongues – Wir Essen Seelen In Der Nacht

On November 1, Dutch black metal outfit Gnaw Their Tongues will put out a new full-length titled Night of Consecration. In the meantime, they’ve thrown this EP of four experimental pieces up on their Bandcamp. It’s a really thick mix of drone, dark ambient, baroque classical, and black metal elements and makes for a quite riveting listen. I don’t imagine it’s an accurate representation of the nearing full-length’s direction, but it’s nevertheless a direction I’d be interested in seeing them pursue further.