Absolutely gargantuan is the best term to describe NO’s sound on “What’s Your Name,” the A-side to their latest single. Almost every element of the song, from the drums to the guitars, feel burly and monolithic, culminating to form a song that the listener physically (as well as emotional) feels. The only element of the song that doesn’t feel like a metric ton monster are the vocals that harbor a profound sense of world weariness that really humanizes the song. Structurally, the track alternates from the aforementioned heaviness to explosive choruses where the previously ominous drums and guitar perform a sort of melodic sprint. A nice bridge where whistling replaces the fatigued vocals provides the perfect segue to the climactic conclusion where the enervated vocals are joined by the vocals of the other band members to great effect. Dramatic, melodic and with a great sense of dynamics, I’m very curious to hear what NO has to offer in the future.
The single is currently on sale via White Iris Records with the song “Eleven Elven” on the B-side.
By clicking play on the widget above, you won’t be listening to a song. Instead you’ll be listening to a sonic painting. The reason I make this distinction is because the music was not written simply to be a pleasantly arranged series of notes. Instead it is a sonic interpretation of the nation of Japan. Dustin Wong, former guitarist in the art rock band Ponytail, has recently taken to using his incredible guitar virtuosity to transform ideas into music. After a series of enchanting dream interpretations, Wong’s latest offering is an enthralling portrait of the country where he grew up. Armed with a guitar and his effects pedals (most notably a loop pedal), Wong fluidly assembles the track starting with percussive plucks and short, legato melodies. As Wong adds layer after layer of sound, the track increases in its intensity and detail. As a person who has been to the Land of the Rising Sun, I envision the flowing landscapes of rural Japan, subtly punctuated with lush mountains and never ending farmland when listening to this composition. Near the end of the sonic painting, a shrill layer of guitar is added, creating a divine sense of dissonance that only enhances the track’s melodic nature. I interpret this new layer as technological Japan, starkly different to what preceded it but able to coexist with nonetheless.
Dustin Wong’s solo LP Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads is out now on Thrill Jockey.
As part of a compilation that independent record label SOUNGS has just released, Hubble, solo guitarist Ben Greenberg of Pygmy Shrews and Zs, and Patrick Breiner, a Connecticut resident who triples as a saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer, have teamed up for a mind-bending new collaboration. Titled “Hubble Chase,” the song accompanies twelve other tracks on this release, which you can buy and/or stream in its entirety over at the SOUNGS Bandcamp.
Without warning, “Hubble Chase” begins with an onslaught of chaotic arpeggios which come courtesy of Breiner’s saxophone and Greenberg’s guitar. The former dominates the right channel, while the latter takes hold of the left, and the pair join together to create a wall of sound that somehow feels both harmonious and somewhat cacophonous. Structurally, “Hubble Chase” is deceptively simple. It makes no clear changes in direction throughout the four-and-a-half minute length it falls just short of spanning, yet it bears a certain amount of subtle change that gives it movement. The song’s minimalistic nature and idiosyncratic saxophone wizardry makes Colin Stetson comparisons unavoidable, but I could go as far as to recommend it to anyone looking for something that is as experimental as it is exhilarating.
From the forthcoming album Major, Fang Island just released the track “Asunder.” Its a cool song, sounding a bit like the Strokes, if Julian Casablancas was quite a bit happier. It’s a summery track, with solid riffs, catchy vocals, and a shiny-gloss production. Go ahead, turn this one up in your car with the windows down.
Look for this album on July 24th via Sargent House.
Since the release of his 2011 album Transparencies, guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia, Gorguts, Vaura, Byla) seems to be putting more momentum behind his solo, ambient efforts.
Polar Night is his latest collection of guitar-conjured drones and soundscapes, and you can stream it all you want via the widget above. The release contains three tracks, or phases: Two 8-minute pieces, and a 25-minute monster. Enjoy!
Guitar monster Carson McWhirter has a new album up on Bandcamp titled SNDLPVN, and “Gatekeeper’s Invitation” is one of the easier ins on the album; meaning that straight drumming and angular riffs digest a little easier than some of the other tracks on this album. Basically, here’s the plan: Try this track, then explore others.
Because Carson is an artist look to stretch his abilities in in every brand of guitar-related musical expression. From the riveting acoustic number on “Watchers,” to the piano-backed “IV,” McWhirter writes songs that are both technical and emotionally riveting.
Guitarist Kevin Hufnagel is best known for his contributions to the world of modern metal through acts like Gorguts, Dysrhythmia, While Heaven Wept, and more. But underneath all of these extreme sounds has been thriving passion for ambient music and soundscapes. This latest release isn’t Kevin’s first foray into this genre, and it sounds like it. I say that because the textures on this album are pretty gripping and affecting, which is a feeling I rarely get from this style of music–well, outside of producers like Tim Hecker, sure.
Give this 11-track experience a listen. Some unquestionably great sounds are on here.