Black and Raw (Furdidurke, s/t CS)

•March 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

Furdidurke - s/t 2010 CS

Furdidurke s/t pro-tape (2010, CW Productions)

Genre: Raw black metal
Format: Tape

Pioneered by bands like Darkthrone in the second wave of black metal, the lo-fi aesthetic was a statement of defiance against the more polished and produced sounds coming from their contemporaries at the time. This production choice marginalized the importance of clarity while emphasizing mood. If black metal is supposed to be bleak and unsettling, then all that is polished must be stripped away.

Furdidurke is among a segment of bands pushing raw black metal so far that the very genre itself begins to disintegrate. It’s no surprise that the band has picked up a following in noise circles– their music arguably skews closer to the world of noise than it does to the conventional Norwegian black metal sound. This latest professional tape out on CW Productions collects various unreleased recordings from 2005-2006, including alternate takes and rehearsals. The songs are about as corrosive as you’ll find– high-gain guitars bleeding into crashing percussion and tortured vocals as they all race into oblivion.

The production choice can– and has– been used as a crutch for bands lacking in skill or ideas to put out music with a shortage of other redeeming qualities. Does Furdidurke frequently sound like a garage black metal act, perpetually in a jam session down the street from your house? I certainly wouldn’t argue with anyone who makes this statement . It does all sound very amateurish and messy, but I would imagine the goal (if they even have one) of Furdidurke and other bands of their ilk is not to be held in the same regard as legendary black metal acts like Emperor or Burzum.

If you’re the type to revel in the hissing violence of this breed of extra raw black metal, then this tape is worth a listen. If you’re looking for a place to start with Furdidurke, this is a good entry point. If you’re a Furdidurke fan, then you’re just reading this for some sort of validation– or a reason to send angry comments or emails. If you’re one of those pious black metal fans who thinks that bands like Furdidurke and Bone Awl are ruining your beloved genre, then you will no doubt hate this tape too.

I happen to fall in the middle. I enjoy this style, but I often find myself more excited by the idea, than the actual music itself. This is fans only territory.

BUY: $6 @ Seedstock Records

DOWNLOAD: Furdidurke  November Reh (2009)

End of Ceremony (Ulaan Khol, III)

•March 25, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Ulaan Khol - III

Ulaan Khol, III (2010, Soft Abuse)

Genre: Drone, Noise rock, Psyche
Format: CD

For the last two years Steven R. Smith has been laboring under the moniker of Ulaan Khol to craft his trilogy of albums simply known as “Ceremony.” Parts I and II, above all else, demonstrate Smith’s command of the guitar. The material varies from washed-out guitar space expeditions to kaleidoscopic explosions of psychedelia.

On III, Smith brings it all home for a big finish. Noise rock flurries give way to cleanly picked ambient passages. Deep space drones get sucked into heavy sludge. Smith chains all of these elements together without distraction. III could have been an exhaustive album, but Smith’s sharp focus keeps everything moving at a brisk pace, leaving not even the slightest chance for boredom. Despite its numerous shifts in tempo and style, III never feels like a disconnected series of simple jam sessions. Smith is not just a talented guitarist, but he is also a shrewd composer, eliminating that which he deems unneccessary, leaving room only for the wonder and exhilaration of the worlds he creates with his guitar.

The only downside to Smith’s astute self-editing? The whole thing feels like it’s over far too soon. Put this one on repeat.

BUY: CD $11 @ SOFT ABUSE

DOWNLOAD: “Untitled 1″

Welcome to Hell.

•February 5, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Skullflower Strange Keys to Untune God’s Firmament (2010, Neurot)

Genre: Noise, Experimental
Format: CD, Vinyl

The most vile record vomited from the abyss of 2010 thus far. If you’re familiar with Matthew Bower’s recent Skullflower output, then you absolutely know what to expect here. Vicious guitar noise warfare that rends the flesh from your bones. This time, Bower has packed two discs just to double your terror. There are references here to the epic German poem Nibelungenlied, and  Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” opera, but let’s be honest– it’s really just placing a more elegant stamp across Bower’s  harsh wall of noise.  And that wall is unrelenting.

I don’t know what the fuck Bower does to his guitars to get them to sound like a gigantic flaming ball of death being violently expelled from the anus of Beelzebub, but it sure does sound magnificent. I usually find myself yawning at harsh noise wall acts, but I believe Bower’s past work outside of this box has allowed him to implement a subtlety in his recent Skullflower material that is almost always absent from other acts of this type. It’s still really abrasive, but there are layers and fragments of sound that unveil themselves once you allow yourself to be dominated by this maelstrom.

Strange Keys is far from a pleasant experience though. But that’s not the point. The true beauty of an album like this one, and other similar ones, is the unique tranquility it creates through its all-enveloping cacophony. To become atuned to such atonal brutality. To adjust and find yourself removed from the chaos, and watch it unfold. To be pushed to an imagined limit, only to realize there isn’t one.

BUY IT FROM NEUROT

DOWNLOAD: “Blackened Angel Wings Scythe the Billowing Void”

Carving the Face of God with Infinite Body

•February 4, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Infinite Body Carve Out the Face of My God (2010, PPM)

Genre: Drone, Experimental
Format: Vinyl

I first learned of Kyle Parker’s Infinite Body project last summer when I attended the Dan Deacon/ No Age/ Deerhunter show in Pittsburgh. As it turned out, the 10-15 minutes Infinite Body played were basically the only redeeming moments of the show. After dropping a quality LP last year, Infinite Body has quickly returned with a new album to kick off 2010 titled Carve Out the Face of My God.

Infinite Body’s sound is characterized by dense, looped-out and delayed drones that reach down from the heavens.  The sound is loud enough to be intimidating, but it never crosses over into harshness.  A strong sense of melody is prevalent in Parker’s noise washes– think less atonal drift and more blissful poems to a bright blue sky. Carve Out the Face of My God expands upon the ideas established in past works, placing longer drone pieces alongside smaller companions. While these shorter pieces are appreciated in a genre that is known for long-form compositions, the most interesting tracks are obviously the more expansive ones.

When Parker gives his songs more room to sprawl, he unfurls spiraling giants bathed in light. Songs such as “Drive Dreams Away” and “Out to Where I Am” swell to gargantuan proportions, almost becoming overwhelming in their towering stature. “Sunshine” is arguably the album’s lasting gem, with its spiking drone outbursts that sound more like ringing church bells than the combination of electronics Parker assembled to craft it. Most of Carve Out soars along gently, but this particular track exhibits a glorious rhythmic bounce. Or maybe it’s more like a stomp. Whatever the case, it’s beautiful.

This guy is one of the more interesting names in American drone right now.  Carve Out the Face of My God is a beautiful album, one exhibiting Parker’s growing penchant for blurring the line between the accessibility of pop, and the unpredictable wonder of the avant garde.

BUY IT FROM PPM

INFINITE BODY ON MYSPACE

List Wankery 09: The Good Music Releases

•January 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Yes, 2009 has been over for eighteen days now, and I’m probably the last person to be posting lists, but that isn’t going to stop this righteous train of self-indulgence.  Let’s get this show on the road– I’m taking time out of Demon’s Souls addiction and Eric Rohmer appreciation to gather my thoughts on the year in music 2009.

The following releases did not make me want to dip my balls in gasoline and dangle them over an open flame:

50. Raspberry Bulbs – Finally Burst… With Fluid
49. Skip Tooth – Mindnumbing Alienation
48. Blut aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue with the Stars
47. Zs - Music of the Modern White
46. Drudkh – Microcosmos
45. Destroyer 666 – Defiance
44. Mouthbreather – Lila 10″
43. Ulcerate - Everything is Fire
42. St. Kilda - s/t
41. Ancestors – Of Sound Mind

40. Jackie-O Motherfucker – Ballads of the Revolution
39. Califone – All My Friends are Funeral Singers
38. Kevin Drumm - Imperial Horizon
37. Aidan Baker & Thisquietarmy - A Picture of a Picture
36. Nurse With Wound – The Surveillance Lounge
35. Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs
34. Converge - Axe to Fall
33. Emptyset - Emptyset
32. Shrinebuilder - s/t
31. The Raveonettes - In and Out of Control

30. Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough
29. James Blackshaw – The Glass Bead Game
28. Funeral Mist - Maranatha
27. Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
26. Manatees – Icarus, the Sunclimber
25. LSD March – Under Milk Wood
24. Natural Snow Buildings – Daughter of Darkness
23. Nadja - Numbness
22. Feral - Welcome to the Graveyard
21. Circulatory System – Signal Morning

20. Loser Life – Friends With a Demon
19. Skullflower - Vile Veil
18. Nadja & Black Boned Angel - s/t
17. Disma
- The Vault of Membros
16.  Skyramps - Days of Thunder
15. Grave Miasma – Exalted Emanation
14. Funebrarum – The Sleep of Morbid Dreams
13. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another
12. Evangelista Prince of Truth
11. Grunt – Petturien rooli

10. Emeralds – s/t

It’s not the titanic work of deep drone goodness that Allegory of Allergies was, but it’s another interesting progression for the group. I suppose I should mention the Berlin school approach they continue to update and refine, but you should probably know that already.

9. Sean McCannPhylum Sigh

This is a good fuckin’ tape. Sean McCann does the whole whimsical electro-acoustic collage thing without pretension or a furry fetish.

8. Mount EerieWind’s Poem

Namedrop time: I saw Phil at Melt in Cincinnati while waiting on his show at the Art Damage Lodge back in November. Contrary to what my friend Zack told me, he does not stink. And neither does this album.

7. Pan Sonic & Keiji HainoShall I Download a Black Hole & Offer it to You

How can you go wrong with a batshit insane experimental legend teaming up with… uhh, two significantly less notable Finnish electro dudes? Although this is a live collaboration, this ends up being all Haino. His crazy ass demonic instruments and I’ve-got-my-nuts-stuck-in-a-vice-grip-oh-god-help-me vocals mesh very well with the pulsing throb and crunch of Pan Sonic.

6. Bloody PandaSummon

The band putting all other Japanese female fronted bands to shame. This shit is so scary that it could possibly make Michael Gira cry and then reconsider his Swans reformation. Probably not though. Evil, evil stuff. Like opening Pandora’s Box and having an Oni emerge, sipping tea with it, and then being violently murdered by it.

5. The Ruins of BeverastFoulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite

Do unsheltered elites have slightly less foul semen than sheltered ones? I’m not quite sure what the album title is all about, but I do know this is the year’s best black metal album. Epic and heavy. This guy is pretty awesome when he makes albums that you can actually hear without having to turn the volume up to max.

4. Leyland Kirby - Sadly the Future is No Longer What it Was

The Caretaker has revealed his secret identity to us– mild-mannered Leyland Kirby. He’s pretty good at music too. Go ahead, find a more beautiful album from 2009. You can’t do it.

3. Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country

Tim Hecker, known in some circles as “that guy who isn’t Christian Fennesz” is pretty good.  This is the concept of pop music– deconstructed.  Another highly replayable triumph for Mr. Hecker.

2. Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

They’re finally moving beyond “world’s best Earth tribute band” tag. This is almost on some modern classical shit here.  You’ve got Attila from Mayhem on here sounding typically evil, there are choral arrangements, brass sections– they are throwing it all against the wall.  And it’s not just sticking, it’s tearing the wall down.

1. Eagle Twin - The Unkindness of Crows

A couple of beardy dudes make sludgy-ass metal with jazz and experimental influences. This album is so bleak and heavy.  The tone is consistent throughout, making it a lot of fun to listen to over and over. So much more than the wimpy, Isis worshiping, post-metal so many bands engage in these days. They tread ground at times similar to acts like Sunn O))), Sleep, and Om, but they have a sound all their own. Give these guys some fucking money.

No, this shitty blog isn’t dead. It’s just resting its eyes.

•January 6, 2010 • 1 Comment

Massive 2009 retrospectives and list wankery incoming. Believe it. I’ve got fuckin’ lists like indie nerds have the semen of Animal Collective in their throats.

PURE NEW YORKER (BLACK) MEHTUL

•November 20, 2009 • 2 Comments

Krallice Dimensional Bleedthrough (2009, Profound Lore)

Mick Barr and his colleagues have returned a year later with another chunk of complex metal for us to chew on. By now, everyone who would care is familiar with these guys. Internet forums have been ablaze now for about a year with people arguing about their TRVENESS or KVLT status or any of the other nonsense the kids like to talk about.

Let’s just cut straight to the facts. Clocking in at a whopping 77 minutes, this is not an album you can properly digest in one listen. Mick Barr is still utterly absurd on the guitar, engaging in all sorts of finger gymnastics as he furiously molests his fretboard and tremolo picks his way down the River Styx. Ken McMaster takes over some of the vocal duties, his bellowing voice standing in contrast to Barr’s tortured yelps.

Dimensional Bleedthrough is similar to its predecessor, but also pushes the experimental aspects of Krallice even further. For every “typical” Krallice song like the title track, there’s something different like the drone metal of “Intraum.” The closer “Monolith of Possession” is an exhausting near 19-minute monster that combines everything interesting about Krallice into one movement. The ending of this song approaches noise in its overwhelming force.

Black metal –as much as I love it– is a genre that produces a large number of ridiculous characters, and many of its followers are too hung up on dumb shit to really enjoy the core art form. Is Dimensional Bleedthrough black metal? Perhaps not in traditional sense, but who cares? It’s a damn fine record regardless of what genre you want to toss it in.

Dimensional Bleedthrough is out now on Profound Lore.

 
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