Friday, January 30, 2009

Never Presence Forever - Ungeromimizu | Split 7"

A top tier release from 2008 that somehow got lost in the rampage of excellent noise and transgression. A ritualistic drone darkness is punctuated by electronic extremes, as witnessed by huddling masses, seeking a succor from the cold. In between techno-beats and humanity as evinced as negative news-samples, a voice arises and changes everything. From one end of the continuum to the other, this 7" encapsulates much more meaning than one could hope to expect from such "simplistic" forms.

sacrifice your ears.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

W=O=R=D | Noise/Music A History - Hegarty

Noise/Music: A History
by Paul Hegarty, is an intellectual exploration of the importance of noise in music, and how simply writing "noise" off as only noise, fails to see the aesthetic purpose that noise, and the avant-garde serves in our current soundscape. Using literary critiques by philosophical giants such as Hegel and Bataille, and musical interpretations by Adorno and Kahn as starting points, as well as comparative points, Hegarty proves the worth of noise, which I interpret as the complete absence of expectation in sound (or even the absence of composed sound as in Cage's 4'33").

Noise works on many levels. One of those levels is the initial perception of the sound, which, in many cases is off-putting. It also works on intellectual, spatial, personal and emotional levels, many times reflecting the world we live in, thus serving a higher cultural purpose than just something that makes us cringe. Hegarty, obviously explores this in much more detail and depth and with much more erudition than I ever could, juxtaposing it against a number of different artists, movements and theories, which helps strengthen its place in music, and gives us an idea where experimentation in noise might lead us in the future.

If you're like me, you are completely fascinated with the new sounds and textures that are being created these days, and you see that the creative process is alive and strong in the musical underground. You also want to delve deeper into the meaning of it all, because you realize that just "enjoying" it is only half the fun. Hopefully those of you interested in the movement of noise in music throughout the 20th century and into the 21st and beyond will find an impetus to pick up this book and obtain a deeper understanding of the workings in the sounds we experience.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Boulevard Imperial Stout

This is one of those beers that you have to ask yourself, is it all that good, and is all the hype just a little overblown? You never know until you try, but I pretty much have an idea by the Smokestack's history, it's probably going to be pretty good. Then again, there's always an exception to the rule, but let's hope this one isn't it. This one is numbered 00055/11960 and shows the 11% abv, which I like seeing, as the bigger Boulevard brews always have a good blend on the alcohol.

A massive multi-colored, light and dark-tan head explodes and rises quickly above the rim of the snifter. It's topped with a crop of big bubbles, and recedes at a snails pace, leaving stacked sheets of slightly broken lacing all around. You have to be careful with the pours on the Smokestacks, i.e. the Doublewide, or you're gonna get froth all over the place. No complaints here though. Color is pitch-black and opaque, with virtually no lighter shades showing when held to light. Aromatically this one is very complex, but that's no surprise. Burnt wood, some ubiquitous Boulevard brettanomyces (which seem to show up lately), burnt sugar, toasted bread, wheat, pine, subtle dark fruits and hops all work in unison to create a perfectly balanced aromatic profile.

A smooth, creamy and very slightly viscous mouth-feel makes for a medium to full bodied experience that is actually highly drinkable, but warrants sipping due to the well-hidden alcohol content. The palate is filled with dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, furtive candy spices, roasted malts and a good hit of alcohol that works itself into the overall experience well, while not being overbearing. In my opinion the hype surrounding this beer is well-deserved, but you'll just have to seek it out and give it a shot yourself.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Left Hand Smoke Jumper: Smoked Imperial Porter

Serendipity strikes on this one, as I found it down at Joe's Place in Norman, where I like to stop in and see what they've got lying around, as they seem to have all the new beers before anyone else in the metro. So, seeing as I'm trying to drink my blues away after the National Championship loss, a good ole big smoked porter seems like the perfect cure to go along with the George Mitchell blues collection I've got in the play list at the moment.

This one pours a deep dark brown with a long-lasting, two-finger, dark tan head. After a few minutes the head calmly recedes, leaving a thick sheet of consistent lacing all around the pint glass which stays almost entirely intact through to my completion of the beer.

Robust notes of smoked, caramel malts hit the nose up front. A second whiff reveals spicy candy, taffy, coffee, and subtle notes of toffee as well. Tastes big on some black coffee up front, with some grain, a certain earthiness, spice and a big alcohol hit enveloping it all. Caramel and a decent amount of hops show up when I take a second drink making for a near perfect balance between the sweetness and bitterness.

Mouth-feel is full-bodied, and a decent amount of carbonation activity goes off upon a good shake. Left Hand has long been one of my favorite regional breweries, but I'll have to admit, some of their latest offerings haven't quite done it for me. However, I'm happy to say, the Smoke Jumper has changed all that. What a brew.

Left Hand.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Deeded To Itself: Athens Southernoise | Thor's Rubber Hammer comp.

Interesting and not so much of the same-ole, same ole noise. Many times artists can't escape the influences of location, history and legacy, thus this comp, from the Athens, Ga. scene has quite a southern feel to it. I know that sounds really weird when talking about noise, but it makes this a unique one for sure. Here's a review I wrote a while back on RYM.

"Athens, Georgia has a long history of experimental/noise music. . wait a minute, no they don't. When you think of Athens you actually think of bands like, uh that one band, I can't remember their name, you know the one I'm talking about, as well as groups like Pylon, and the B-52's. You think of Herschel Walker and the Bulldogs. You think of Coca-Cola. Well, that's Atlanta, but close enough. One thing you don't think of is Athens being a hotbed of experimental noise music. This disc changed all that for me. A hybrid steaming stew of diverse noise groups show us how it's done down south; and by god it's a dead reckoning.

Deeded To Itself, such a great name for this release because it has such a definite Faulknerian southern feel, is an amalgamation of experimental groups put together by Thor's Rubber Hammer productions out of Washington D.C. The disc begins with the blues-noise/free-jazz front porch psych freakout PoemX by Altruizine, which includes complimentary banjo jamming. They somehow pull this off. Furthering the cause and selling you immense amounts of caffeinated noise are the Orthopedics and Killick with some straightforward sonic destruction not unlike a whirligig going berzerk in a tornado and pigs fucking in the mud, all field recorded, looped, analized and refed.

Long Legged Woman continue the marketing ploy with their splendid rendition of It's the End of the World (And We Didn't Know It), which as you might suspect, sounds nothing like the original, but a bit more surreal. Sorry, there's no lyrics here per se', so you can't try to sing along with it. Sailor Winters grasp string theory while Chartruese bring the drone to the boardroom to level the playing field. Finalizing the disc are Garbage Island with some straight-forward noise, Better People with some peculiar vox and percussion forays, and Telenovela with an introspective strum-bliss, flute fantasy that is distinct from the rest of the disc, and provides an appeasing fruition.

Fabrication from a unique setting results in a diverse set of songs/pieces to crank on a Sunday afternoon while enjoying a mint julep or a hard drug of your choice."

get ya' some of this deep south racket.

TRH also has another comp out which has some bigger names on it. Buy it here.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Total Abuse | Sex Pig 7"

Came across this blog entry on WFMU, which provoked me to dig out the Total Abuse 7" from last year. Great little record here. Riffage is excellent, there's plenty of change-ups, traditional hardcore power and some melody. The songs are well-developed, and while the hardcore tropes are present, it doesn't come off as trite. Appears there's a new comp out on Deranged Records, which includes this 7", and after listening to the .mp3s and the record, its gotta be the shit.

I'll have to admit that I don't listen to too much newer hardcore stuff, as that ship seems to have sailed, but there's something really cool, a little offbeat, and and a lot crazy about these guys.

Mosh it up!

Also, the Lexie Mountain Crazy Dream Band stuff on the WFMU page sounds pretty good too. Kind of like some Janis Joplin/minimal-synth-pop/anthem type shit that goes in a hundred different directions but manages to keep somewhat grounded. Crazy and dreamy too. Nothing wrong with a band letting you know what your going to get with their moniker. Looks like Nate from Mouthus/RK is involved, and that's a good thing. I totally dug and recommend the live recording she was involved with The Julie Mittens as well.