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!
UK electronic music producer Andy Stott comes through with a new record that further melds the worlds of techno and textured, noisy dark ambient music. You can stream Faith In Strangers above, which is getting released on Modern Love this week. Enjoy, and check out a review for Stott’s last full-length right here.
Previously mentioned musical oddity Gazelle Twin has a new EP out centered around one of the pivotal cuts from her new full-length album, Unflesh. “Anti Body” is an unsettling musical experience, featuring rigid, industrially tinged kick drums, and some eerily whispered lead vocals. For all it’s unorthodoxy, it’s actually somewhat catchy.
Check this track out, a b-side, and a few remixes via the embed above.
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.
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.
With upcoming 10″ single “Sue (Or in a Season of Crime)/’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore,” David Bowie ventures deeper into avant-garde territory. The B-side, streamable above, is a chaotic big band experiment that evokes an Elizabethan incest tragedy – quite a leap from the mild experimentation of last year’s The Next Day. Bowie really takes his perpetual literacy and expressionism to a new height with this track; I’m hoping (and excited) to see him continue on this path in the future.
“Sue (Or in a Season of Crime/’Tis a Pity She Was a Whore” is out in the States November 28 (for Record Store Day‘s Black Friday) via Columbia/Legacy. The A-side will also kick off Bowie’s upcoming anthology Nothing has changed., due out November 18. Below, find our review of The Next Day:
English electronic music producer Christopher Clark just released his latest full-length on Warp Records this month. It’s self-titled. Of the songs I’ve heard thus far, I’m finding it much more experimental and intriguing than his last album, Iradelphic, and “The Grit In The Pearl” is moment that must be highlighted.
The bouncy, overlapping synth leads are complimented with a driving kick drum that really brings clarity and order to the track as it continues to build this amorphous wall of reverb-slathered tones. It’s focused, but incredibly explorative as well–especially with that noisy drone in the song’s second half.
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 58, Festival 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
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.