slon - jelenka ep

||| Support real indie bands |||

.:: Slon (Russian for elephant) are a new act to the scene. The band consists of Andrei Jafarau (git), Bernhard Baumann (git), David Wukitsevits (dr) and Alexandr Vatagin on bass, cello and electronics.

On a formal level, one can say Slon are a Post Rock-band. So far, so common. But if you zoom a bit closer into the Slon-sound, you will find a million influences, a rhizomatic meshwork of inspirations and an amount of musical ideas other bands could compose whole discographies from.

Curtain fall for “Jelenka”!
The intro called “Stillleben” was written by Tupolev-bassist Alexandr Vatagin. A soulful and gently aching melody, bowed cello and a few percussion sounds. Sparse and touching like a Jewish elegy. Titletrack “Jelenka” at number two introduces the rest of the band. While both guitarists unfold a simple Jazz melody, Vatagin's cello sets interesting harmonic courses.

The whole sound is very intimate and close, nearly chamber musical. Like a mixture between Karate (Jazz), Slint (sparingness) and Gastr Del Sol (experimentalism). “The Negroni Massacre” is rather ambient, a draft of piano and plucked guitar, with delicate feedback and a lot of warming noises in the back. Ominous tune! The tension unleashes with “Chisum” afterwards, the most aggressive song. Jafarau and Baumann let their guitars ring like June of 44 never split up.

Final composition “Um Leere Räume zu Füllen” (to fill-up empty rooms) is the culmination of “Jelenka”. The songs starts with an expanded electronic intro, incorporating bass and piano. The guitars take on a humble melody, drums and piano join and bring the song to a prosperous ending.

download: slon - jelenka ep

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

refused - the e.p. compilation (1997)

.:: This 2004 version of The EP Compilation joins Burning Heart/Epitaph's digipack reissues of Shape of Punk to Come and Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent. Refused sounds better than ever thanks to remastering, which has amplified the recording's overall levels and clarified its elements.

Highlights like "Circle Pit," "Refused Are Fucking Dead," and "New Noise" ring with newfound fury, while the traditionalist hardcore of 1995's Everlasting EP -- including "Sunflower Princess" and "Symbols" -- has lost none of its urgency. While Refused was respected and even revered in its day, the group has gotten a reputation as the go-to influence for a new generation of post-hardcore and emo foot soldiers. Burning Heart/Epitaph's remasters are the official and best representation of that legacy.

.:: As stated on the cover of the enclosed booklet, the disc you are most likely to find on your right when opening this exquisite plastic trey contains historical musical evidence of punkrock band Refused. That is to say, songs published originally in the context of mini-cd's, cd-ep's and various compilations now released as one coherent work of art for purposes unknown to the author of this pretentiously overdone back cover text. There.

download: refused - the e.p. compilation (1997)

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

lacrimas profundere - la naissance d'un reve

||| Before the "I want to be a cute metalhead" attitude… |||

.:: 1996 and Lacrimas Profundere release their second official release after their very promising debut album "…And The Wings Embraced Us" (1995), "La Naissance D'Un Reve", "the birth of a dream". The album is indeed a dream, a bitter one, coming to life as its bleak and deeply melancholic melodies start to echo overrunning the listener, penetrating his fragile soul, filling him with hollow grey emotions.

"La Naissance D'Un Reve" is an opus to pure melancholy and every single sound is made of a burning picture from the past. The guitar riffing is slow and doomy, the rhythm section lends groove to the compositions and the emotional piano pieces, the imposing symphonic keyboard melodies and the heart-rending violin pieces evoke a sorrowful bleak atmosphere in the air along with the beautiful female vocals and Christopher Schmid's descriptive deep grunts at times, emotional reciting at others. Generally, everything consisting of this album is at the same time deeply emotional and utterly inspired harmonizing beautifully the sounds of the soul and the colors of the heart into 6 compositions, the 6 parts of the dream…

You start losing yourself into the dream as "A Fairy's Breath" surrounds you; Christopher's voice is utterly descriptive whether he recites or grunts in calmness or in emotional ecstasy interpreting lyrics made of bitterness and of dream harmonizing wonderfully with the slow doomy guitar riffing, the bleak piano melodies and the violin's heart-rending sound enriching the grey soundscape with even darker colors along with some desperate female vocals that make their appearance at times. It seems that after the one great song comes after the other and "Priamus" which follows is one of them, another opus of sadness and of pain. You drown deeper and deeper into the dream with the guitar riffing and the guitar chords' melodies overrunning you as Christopher's heart-rending voice pierces your bleeding soul so deep inside; the song ranges from soft dreamy melancholic parts to emotional outbursts with Christopher grunting in anger and pain escalating the emotional charge of the song. The melancholic piano ending of "Priamus" leads to the heart-rending piano opening of the following "Lilienmeer" making you drown in your very own esoteric thoughts…

…where you keep on suffocating as "The Gesture of the Gist" starts echoing with the keyboard and the violin melodies enchanting in bereavement the listener as the song goes on. For one more time Christopher is utterly expressive giving meaning to every single word he utters, words of the heart echoing from his angry throat in pain as the distressful guitar riffing and the serene guitar chords accompany him harmonizing with the aching piano melodies; the emotional parts drown you in sadness whereas the outbursts make you feel anger while in deep pain escalating the song. The album flows in deep mourning tones with the wailing "An Orchid For My Withering Garden", a composition based on Christopher's reciting and an ethereal female voice harmonizing beautifully with him as the bittersweet guitar chords, the bleak violin pieces and the piano and keyboard melodies accompany them in pure drama leading slowly to the end of the dream with the elegiac "Enchanted In Silent Beauty". Christopher shows the grandeur of his voice as he interprets the poetic lyrics in an exceptional descriptive way as the doomy guitar riffing, the piano, the violin and the keyboard melodies and the imposing rhythm section evoke the ideal musical background and atmosphere for him to paint the soundscape with colors of the heart.

"La Naissance D'Un Reve" is a monumental album moving in lyrical doom/death metal soundscapes balancing between reality and fairytale, dreams and nightmares…
download: lacrimas profundere - la naissance d'un reve

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

toru takemitsu - i hear the water dreaming

.:: Takemitsu, who died in 1996, wrote everything from movie music to Beatles arrangements to avant-garde chamber music. In his best works, he draws simultaneously on the traditional idiom of Japan and the most advanced contemporary techniques. All this music was written (or, in one case, arranged) for flute solo, and Patrick Gallois proves a most satisfying interpreter, getting into the composer's skin and playing with a most convincing sense of inner quiet. One misconceived idea mars the disc, though. Takemitsu had good reasons for producing three versions of Toward the Sea, a lovely and imaginative piece. But even when separated by other pieces, they don't make for satisfying listening on one program. (Given the choice, I would have picked the orchestral version for its added color.) Still, with such fine performances and sound, there's enough music on the disc to make it worth picking up if the idiom appeals to you.

.:: Toru Takemitsu was born in Tokyo on 8 October 1930. After the war, resolving to become a composer, he began to study composition with Yasuji Kiyose in 1948, though he remained basically self-taught. His composing debut came at the age of twenty with the piano piece "Lento in due movimenti". Takemitsu showed a very clear interest in many nonmusical art forms, such as modern painting, literature (particularly poetry), theater and film. In 1951, together with other composers and artists from the most divergent disciplines, he founded the "Experimental Workshop", a mixed-media group which soon became known for its avant-garde multi-media activities.

Takemitsu first gained public recognition as a composer in the late fifties, with his Requiem for strings (1957). His interest in different artistic fields and his self-taught status deeply influenced his avant-garde style. He was using tape recorders to create musical collages out of "real" sounds ("musique concrète") as soon as 1950 (Water Music 1960, Kwaidan 1964). In the early sixties two new influences established themselves in Takemitsu’s music: traditional Japanese music (e.g. November Steps, 1967, for biwa, shakuhachi and orchestra) and nature (e.g. ARC I, 1963, for orchestra, A Flock Descends into the Pentagonal Garden, 1977, for orchestra).

On the occasion of the world exhibition EXPO 1970 in Osaka, he was musical director of a theatre project ("Space Theater of Street Pavilion"). Whereas the influence of Schönberg and Berg were noticeable in the works of his early period, the French style of composition, particularly that of Debussy, has remained the basis for his works thereafter. Takemitsu was also very receptive towards other music (jazz, chanson, pop tunes) and, being an ardent film fan, he has also composed film music (e.g. Ran, Dodes’ka-Den). Although at home in the electronic media and film music, his most characteristic works are perhaps for chamber ensemble and large orchestra. Including arrangements of classic pop-melodies, the 12 Songs for Guitar (1977) are evidence of Takemitsu’s liking for so-called light music. Takemitsu is in particular an instrumental composer and being adherent to a "musique concrète", he uses
even in his electronic pieces
solely natural sounds instead of electronic ones.

He lectured on composition at the Yale University and was also invited by universities in the USA, Canada and Australia as a lecturer or composer-in-residence. He was awarded many honours and prizes, for example the UNESCO-IMC Music Prize in 1991 and the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in 1994 for Fantasma/Cantos.

Takemitsu died in Tokyo on 20 February 1996.

download: toru takemitsu - i hear the water dreaming

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

dredg - live at the fillmore

.:: The Fillmore in San Francisco is a legendary venue. The CBGB’s of psychedelic, the Fillmore Auditorium housed the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and many other classics as they got their start. Later, after the psychedelic music of the 60s and 70s died away, the wave of California punk bands began seeing their days in The Fillmore, although it renamed itself as The Elite Club. Among others, The Dead Kennedys brought themselves up in The Elite Club.

In 1991, the venue changed its name back to the original and became a popular venue in San Francisco. It’s no huge arena and only seats just over 1,000 people. In that essence, it suits dredg perfectly. While the band certainly has the ability to produce enough energy to make a crowd of tens of thousands go crazy, their music suits a more secluded venue.

This live album takes the listener through a rollercoaster ride of intensity. Dredg obviously prepared for this concert extensively, putting together a perfect setlist, grouping their most energetic songs together along with the mellowest together. What’s more, dredg worked out transitions from song to song to make gigantic sections of the concert flow like one. The band knows where their strengths lie and they put it all together with an extremely smart setlist.

Aside from The Warbler, which serves as an orchestrated sound check more than a song, the band opens with their two most popular songs, Bug Eyes and Ode to the Sun. Both of which produce great energy and pull the crowd in immediately. The crowd goes wild when they hear Gavin push out the memorable ascending slide guitar line and the band shows that their studio quality translates directly into their live quality.

The instrumental balance of the band comes across almost as well as it does on the studio recordings. A listener hears everything come through and certain aspects stand out when needed. The band plays pretty much directly from the recording on the opening songs simply because they can. Dredg composed Catch Without Arms in such a way that the band could perform everything live.

El Cielo falls on the opposite end of the spectrum. Each song on El Cielo took extreme studio precision to work with multiple tracks of instruments and layers upon layers of melodies. After the opening sequence, dredg plays through the first five tracks of El Cielo in succession (besides the ambient intro under a minute).

The band manages to create the dense sound, relying much on delay effects from guitarist Mark Engles. However, drummer Dino Campanella often changes the feel of the songs throughout, if only for a split second. He adds great variety to the tracks and leads the band through many dynamic changes. Meanwhile, vocalist Gavin Hayes and bassist Drew Roulette play directly from the studio recordings. It seems to take a while for Gavin to step into his aura and really get into his concert, giving a pretty emotionless performance throughout Same Ol’ Road. In Sanzen, he picks up the slack a bit but he doesn’t reach his full potential until Triangle, where the entire band enters a whole new echelon of live performance. Using various vocal samples not heard on El Cielo and stepping into a trance-like feel.

They play with the crowd for a bit, pausing before jumping into the second movement and disregarding the crowd’s beckoning. However, from where the band comes back in, Triangle stands out as one of the best tracks on the album.

After a slight rise in energy from The Tanbark Is Hot Lava, easily the most energetic song ever from the band, the most consistent section of the concert arrives. Dredg enters another section of El Cielo songs, the more mellow ones. Whoa Is Me features a guest saxophonist to solo throughout the song and it grooves much like a secluded jazz club. Even Of The Room, one of the most dynamic songs from the band, finds a toned down interpretation. Even through the recording, the laid-back feel that dredg attempts to create comes through nicely.

The laid-back style capitulates in a fantastic rendition of the more electronic-based Sang Real and The Ornament. After a short melodic interlude, Sang Real jumps into full beautiful form. It features some slightly different piano chord voicings from Dino throughout, but the main drum beat and piano sample remain the same from the recording. The Ornament builds upon the use of piano for a sparse, beautiful song. The song is an expansion off of the closing of Matroshka at the end of Catch Without Arms. The Ornament stands out as the ultimate low on the album in intensity but one of the highs in excellence.

But that is really nothing to leave fans with at a concert. Luckily, dredg possesses one song that transfers from that sparseness to extreme intensity, The Canyon Behind Her. The live rendition of one of dredg’s fullest songs lacks the wall of sound produced by the studio chorus, but in a way, it works.

Dredg executes the uptempo verses perfectly, with Dino creating excellent fills throughout. The climax where the song switches into 6/8 serves its purpose of raising the intensity and nothing more. As the recording of the choir ending plays over the PA, the band transfers into Yatahaze, a little taste of Leitmotif to send fans off. Easily the heaviest song played in the concert, Yatahaze along with 90 Hour Sleep, the outro for the song which capitulates in an accelerando which Dino leads through an energizing rock beat. Live at the Fillmore showcases songs from every album dredg recorded as well as a few B-sides from Catch Without Arms.

They composed a setlist of excellence that rises and falls in intensity with a masterful presence. It is an excellent representation of the live dredg, showing the band playing together with excellence and their experience together shines.

download: dredg - live at the fillmore

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

this mess is mine - weekend ep

.:: "This Mess is Mine" is a solo project of Lars Kranholdt. His "The Weekend EP"- release presents a little piece of electronica, which has been created within a weekend in March 2006. The six tracks of "The Weekend EP" tell an autobiographical story from searching and finding ones inner calmness. "This Mess Is Mine" combines stumbling beats, soft guitars and Rhodes melodies with a ticktacking fanorgan.

download: this mess is mine - weekend ep

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

get him eat him - arms down

||| REPOSTED |||

.:: Classic rock guitars and Hammond organ intermingle with harmonized vocoder, booming bass and drums, and a jubilant horn section in a unique, powerful and emotionally resonant call to arms. So begins Arms Down, the second full-length album from Providence, RI's Get Him Eat Him. Get Him Eat Him's 2005 debut album Geography Cones was about the precarious maintenance of a social mask-- drinking coffee, going to parties, picking out clothes for a first date. Arms Down is an exploration of what happens when that mask is dropped.

The cultivated jitters of Geography Cones have given way to uncontrolled spasms - the careening thrusts of "Push and Pull," the swaggering stomp of "Present Tenses," the crushing self-doubt and soaring self-realization of "Murphy Bed." A rich, consistent and multi-layered record, Arms Down hits with stunning range and force. It's no accident that Arms Down is so confident and well-honed; Get Him Eat Him has been working on this album since before the release of Geography Cones.

For nearly two years, the band has been writing and recording songs for limited edition tour EPs, tracing out the contours of their new material with thrift store four tracks, second-hand microphones, and cheap software effects. Meanwhile, three national tours (including dates with The Constantines, Xiu Xiu, Oxford Collapse, Ted Leo, Broken Social Scene and The Arcade Fire) brought the band closer together as musicians, giving them ample opportunity to grow into a forceful and cohesive unit.

By the time they began recording Arms Down in July of 2006, the band knew how they wanted these songs to sound. To help them realize this complex and far-reaching vision, Get Him Eat Him enlisted former Dismemberment Plan guitarist Jason Caddell to co-produce the record. Caddell guided the recording process through multiple locations and engineers, including a stint at Brooklyn's Studio G with Joel Hamilton (Sparklehorse, Tom Waits, Elvis Costello), a few days at the Wrens' New Jersey home, and a handful of sessions at DC's famed Inner Ear Studio engineered by Caddell himself.

Arms Down was mixed at DC's Silver Sonya by Chad Clark (Fugazi, Smart Went Crazy) and TJ Lipple (Aloha, Wilderness), and by frontman Matt LeMay on his home computer. The resulting album is a striking combination of homespun detail and hi-fi punch. Musically, Arms Down is no less sophisticated. Seeking to match each musical idea to its ideal sound, Get Him Eat Him expanded their sonic palate with horns from Beirut's Zach Condon and Jon Natchez, strings from Beirut's Kristin Ferebee and veteran cellist Amy Domingues, 12-string guitar from the Wrens' Charles Bissell, and Hammond organ from New York-based jazz keyboardist (and occasional Broken Social Scene collaborator) Chris Brown.

The band's own playing has grown more nuanced and focused, pushing the expressive range of each instrument to fit their increasingly intricate and dynamic material. Like its predecessor, Arms Down deftly and uniquely balances the synthetic and the organic, leaving some of its most jarring moments (the harrowing end of "What We Do") to cellos and trumpets, and its most beautiful moments (the aching crescendo of "Just So") to synthesizers and vocoders. In many ways, Arms Down can be best understood as the product of a band living, touring, and playing together in the iPod age; Ted Leo, Archers of Loaf, Chavez, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, Mouse on Mars and Brainiac, all put on shuffle and reinterpreted through the hearts, minds and hands of five young music obsessives.

.:: Two years after the release of their debut album, Geography Cones, Get Him Eat Him is back with Arms Down, a unique, powerful and emotionally resonant record. After touring extensively through 2005 and 2006 with the likes of Xiu Xiu, The Constantines, Ted Leo, and The Arcade Fire, Get Him Eat Him settled down in July of 06' to begin recording the new album.

Co-produced by Jason Caddell, the album was recorded over multiple sessions at Brooklyn's Studio G, DC's famous Inner Ear Studio, and at the homes of both The Wrens'Charles Bissell and Get Him Eat Him's Matt LeMay. The result is a rich, multi-layered album comprised of the perfect mixture of synthetic and organic sound. Some of the album's most striking moments come through thanks to collaborations with other artists, including Zach Condon and veteran cellist Amy Domingues. But at its beautiful, weird core, Arms Down is all about the dedication and obsession of the members of Get Him Eat Him.

The sounds and ideas here are truly representative of a group of people steeped in the ipod age; constantly immersed in touring, playing together, and letting the diverse ideas of Ted Leo, Al Green, Bruce Springsteen, Chavez, and Mouse on Mars stream through their consciousness and flow into place on their own album.

*** listen "exposure", awesome guitar and keys work ***

download: get him eat him - arms down

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

someone still loves you boris yeltsin - broom


.:: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, a band, couldn’t list a single music blog until their lo-fi MP3s and low-res JPEGs made them worldwide icons of Blogdom in 2005. Their debut record, Broom is an expertly crafted indie pop gem. Spin magazine read an SSLYBY blog, downloaded their music and declared the Missouri band “could succeed The Shins.” Then a slew of bloggers ranked them ahead of Wilco and Iron & Wine in Leafblower’s annual “Top Bands of America Today”.

“Internet fame doesn’t make sense to us,” says drummer and main songwriter Philip Dickey. “I don’t think our lead singer has an e-mail address.”

All members were babies in the early 80s. A mutual ex-girlfriend from high school introduced the original members of the band. And that’s also where the name comes from—high school. “I thought of it when I was at the mall with my mom,” Dickey says. “We’re not good at naming things or planning ahead. We only tried to make people like us a couple years ago.”

SSLYBY’s hometown used to be a beacon of pop music in the 50’s. That’s when The Ozark Jubilee was broadcasting live country music from the downtown Springfield, entertaining millions of viewers every Saturday night on primetime NBC. “We think about that show a lot,” Dickey says. “Our little town was the third highest origination point for national television…third only to New York and Hollywood. We want to bring the spotlight back here. Moving to Brooklyn or LA would be copping out. We’re not that sad about living in Missouri.”

The band released their debut album, Broom, originally in March 2005. Broom was recorded in an attic and a living room on Weller Street, Knauer’s home. The band’s ambition was simple- to make the “Local Releases” bin at CD Warehouse. However, it turned into a classic rock ‘n’ roll record: the kind where pop perfectionism meets studio experimentations and each track flows effortlessly. Relatively tame pop songs are molded by happy accidents of fate, sometimes involving unexplained swarming sounds and doubled drums tracks.

The band posted Broom MP3s on their website, and that’s how the blogging boom began. Then the San Francisco Weekly wrote a love letter to the band—literally.

“Dear Unknown Band from Middle of Nowhere Missouri, How do I love thee? …your debut is one of those rare albums where every song is crafted, delicious, and essential. This is disgusting, really, given the fact that the oldest member of your band is only 22. Yours truly, Chris Baty”

And the infatuation hasn’t ended. It’s impossible to find a reviewer or blogger that isn’t lovesick over Broom, even with omniscient help of Google.

The band is in the process of following up Broom at incessant pace. Each month SSLYBY releases 30 minutes of analog recordings to subscribers of their prolific “Tape Club”. And they proved they were a real band when they toured with Secretly Canadian’s Catfish Haven in February. The Columbia Tribune called it one of the best shows of the year….“Springfield up-and-comer doesn’t yet realize the gifts it possesses - a scary thought.”

Also scary: the reviews barely scratch the surface of SSLYBY’s virtues. Listen to what Pitchfork labeled the “Basement MP3’s”. Scour the internet. Feel the love poured into each song. And watch Google completely debase the way we discover our new favorite bands.

download: someone still loves you boris yeltsin - broom

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

the octopus project - one ten hundred thousand million


.:: This instrumental space-dance quartet won a spot on the bill at the upcoming Coachella festival after a fan entered the group in a MySpace contest, unbeknownst to the band. The Octopus Project's set was a preview of how they'll light up the California desert: sci-fi-flick synthesizer squeals, power-riff guitars, hellbent drumming. In one song, Yvonne Lambert coaxed playful squiggles and dying sighs from the antennae-like extension of a theremin, waving her hands in the air like code as guitars rang like church bells around her -- as if it were an outtake of the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" with Mogwai as the studio band.

.:: I hope -- I think -- we've finally made it past the era of electronica-as-genre. During the '90s, how many dissimilar artists were corralled under this ridiculous blanket label in the name of the Next Big Trend? At the end of the last decade, you couldn't throw a sample or synth line into a song without being accused of jumping on the electronica bandwagon. Even supposedly do-no-wrong artists like Radiohead and U2 were lambasted by fans for hinging entire records on electronic experimentation. Perhaps this is why, despite all the brouhaha surrounding the "movement", many mainstream practitioners of electronic music were unimaginative and derivative of the "genre" forerunners.

But yes, thankfully the eggshell tip-toeing that hindered the potential of our technology seems to have waned. A song can finally be judged by the complete picture on the puzzle rather than by the shape of one of its pieces. From an instrumentation point of view, the jump from Kylie Minogue to The Postal Service really isn't that huge, but we're not going to see them on tour together (except in my dreams).

And as genre lines blur, bend, and break in the digital age, artists are no longer afraid to push the boundaries of what we've heard before. This of course doesn't make my job any easier. How does one categorize The Octopus Project, for instance? One Ten Hundred Thousand Million, the second release from this Austin instrumental trio (with the help of an assortment of guest musician friends), is an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink concoction of various acoustic instruments, keyboards, digital effects, and samples. At its most effective, the production is so seamless that it's almost difficult to discern the live instrumentation from the loops. Is The Octopus Project a symbiosis of man and machine, or does it exist in some fluid limbo in between?

The record alternates between high energy drum-n-bass grooves and slower cuts of subdued moodiness. Throughout, however, there is a sense of urgent unease. Every beat is purposeful, tight, and determined. When listening, I can't help feeling that there is some task that I have yet to accomplish, and that time is running out for me. I think this is due in large part to drummer Toto Miranda, who rips out dance beats so quickly that you can see why most DJs stick to sampling. The irony is that with a DJ, you get the impression of the calm and collected Wizard of Oz, pulling the strings behind the scenes -- always in complete control. The image of a live drummer, however, is one of exhausting work and flailing arms. Even though the drummer technically has more control over tempo than a DJ, it's he who resembles the slave to rhythm.

This is most evident than on boisterous opener "Exit Counselor", where Miranda lays down a furious beat, booming and fuzzy, while an amalgam of staccato jangles, echoes, phase-effect keyboards, and guitar noise breakdowns create a thick landscape of sound. This and other upbeat tracks, such as "Music is Happiness" and "Tuxedo Hat", are the quickest to please.

The real heart and soul of this record, however, exists in the quieter moments, when the noise and effects are pushed to the background, allowing a simple hook or bass line to establish an atmosphere. "Adjustor" is the standout track here. It doesn't seem possible that the to-and-fro simplicity of its primary hook could be so engaging, but it is. "All of the Champs That Ever Lived" moves with more urgency but still manages to keep up the eerie quietude over Miranda's lightning chops. "Bruise" is one of the more minimalist pieces here, beginning with an ambient keyboard and slowly building with a gorgeous melody. "Malaria Codes", which could be confused for a Groove Armada track if the sound wasn't so organic, is propelled from good to great by the jazzy horn accompaniment that enters halfway through.

If there were a real negative to this record, it would be that the music cannot exist at any time or place. Don't throw it on for the first time unless you plan on giving it your full attention. The music is almost dependent on the listener's concentration, and I won't lie -- at times, this can be a struggle. The clicks, blips, beeps and noise occasionally come too far forward, resulting in an aural overload that can subvert your interest if you're not careful. Fight through it, though, and you will be rewarded. A good imagination helps. Because there are no lyrics, you are free to invent your own visual representation of what this music is trying to say. For me, it tells me to keep…driving…faster. And that's indicative of good rock and roll. Dave Dierksen - Pop Matters

download: the octopus project - one ten hundred thousand million

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

gojira - the link

.:: The French band Gojira really broke through with their 2006 CD From Mars To Sirius. It got great reviews and the band has done some major tours in the past year. For those North American fans who never got the chance to hear Gojira's earlier material, their second CD, 2003's The Link has been remastered and re-released.

Gojira has a unique sound, and their second CD was just as good as From Mars To Sirius. They have a lot of thrash elements in their songs, including some really memorable riffs. Their songwriting is really inventive and doesn't use the usual verse, chorus, verse structure. There are a lot of unusual and almost proggy parts on The Link including long instrumental sections, strange keys and unusual rhythm patterns.

This is a really eclectic CD that has everything from dreamy acoustic interludes to fast thrash songs and nearly everything else in between. Those who recently discovered and like Gojira will definitely want to delve into their back catalog, including this excellent album.

download: gojira - the link

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

david simons - prismatic hearing

.:: David Simons composes music for theater, dance, film, installations, and concert ensembles. His unusual collection of sounds from self-built and non-European instruments combines with digital sampling technologies to create a unique pan-cultural music. He has devised his own method of using the Theremin as a Midi controller. David is a graduate of the California Institute of the Arts, studying composition with Earle Brown, Morton Subotnick, James Tenney, Harold Budd; percussion teachers include John Bergamo (Cal Arts), Paul Price (Manhattan School Of Music), and Alan Dawson (Berklee).

David has researched and performed music from many of the world’s cultures, and furthered his music studies in Bali, Bangkok and Seoul. As a founding member of the FUTURE PRIMITIVE ENSEMBLE his pieces were heard live on radio and in concert throughout the U.S. He has also performed on tour in Java, Bali, Korea, Japan, Eastern and Western Europe, Canada, Cuba and Hawaii. For many years he has been a member of Gamelan Son of Lion and Music for Homemade Instruments in New York, both of which regularly premiere his works.

David has received numerous awards and grants, including a 2003 Rockefeller Foundation residency at Bellagio, Italy to compose music for NEWBAND and their collection of Harry Partch instruments. In 1998 American Composers Forum and Jerome Foundation funded the Gamelan Son of Lion’s commission for David to write Music for Theremin and Gamelan, and an Arts International travel grant and Asian Cultural Council grant enabled him to perform it in Bali (2000); other awards include Harvestworks Artist-In-Residence (‘95 Project Residency, ‘89 computer music Programming Residency); Canada Council Visiting Foreign Artist (‘92) for sound installation at Art Metropole in Toronto; Composer-in-Residence at American Dance Festival (‘91); NY Foundation for the Arts Composition Fellowship (‘90, 2000); ASCAP Special Awards (1987-02); and several Meet the Composer commissions.

The American Music Center’s recovery grant ‘Music Liberty Initiative for NY’, was awarded in 2002. The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation sponsored a teaching and instrument building residency in 2005 with artist Ken Butler, Lisa Karrer and David Simons at the Avampato Museum in Charleston, West Virginia.

In collaboration with Lisa Karrer, David has received Artslink and Arts International awards for projects in Estonia (95-03), and the Mary Flagler Cary Commissioning Grant to compose their chamber opera "The Birth of George" (‘96). This opera was produced by Harvestworks and American Opera Projects and had its workshop premiere at La Mama in ‘97, supported by the Jerome Foundation and Greenwall Foundation, and an Aaron Copland Recording grant was received in ‘98 to make a CD, released on TELLUS in 2003. David’s CD on TZADIK "Prismatic Hearing" was released in 2004.

.:: Of the ten diverse pieces on Prismatic Hearing, only two share the same instrumentation. That the CD is nonetheless cohesive is due to the characterful nature of David Simons's compositions. He's a longstanding member of two very different ensembles, Music for Homemade Instruments and Gamelan Son of Lion, both of which play on Prismatic Hearing. He's also worked extensively in film, theater and dance, and the longest piece here, "Picasso/Rossinirape", composed in 2003 for BAD Co in Zagreb, Croatia, was written to accompany a dance in which a woman relives her rape in excruciating detail while contorting herself in the manner of a Picasso portrait. The source material is, as the title suggests, sampled from Rossini, his Messe Solonelle, but the music is fractured into new rhythmic and melodic shapes and rendered distinctly ominous, benefitting from Simons's virtuoso use of sampling technology.

The earliest of the compositions, written in 1974 while Simons was a student at the California Institute of the Arts, is "Crown of Thorns", for harpsichord, guitar, harp, cello, vibraphone, marimba and gongs. It plays for a mere 36 seconds. This is the only piece on the CD that's strongly reminiscent of another composer: the Frank Zappa of his most accomplished album, Uncle Meat.

Most of the other pieces on Prismatic Hearing were composed during the 1990s and the current decade, and by then Simons had a sure grasp of his materials and the ends to which they could be put. One of his innovations is to use a theremin both as itself and as a MIDI controller of sampled sounds. Theremin-triggered samples feature on "Information" and Dematerialized". The latter very effectively illustrates how orchestral sounds and voices, modulated electronically, can be shaped into a composition that transcends its source materials. During the final couple of minutes the intense drama of the piece is undercut by humour, as interleaved and patchworked voices recite phrases such as "A burgundy suede spider is humping an oil slick".

According to Simons, prismatic hearing is the process by which our minds reconstitute sounds while we're actively hearing them, filtering them according to our tastes and prejudices, etc. He points out that, in many cases, "this results in a more interesting phrase than the original". Something similar could be argued about his use of sampled material on Prismatic Hearing. The Wire, Brian Marley - 1995

download: david simons - prismatic hearing

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

tin hat trio - helium

.:: Transplanted from New York to the Bay Area, the chamber jazz group Tin Hat Trio consists of accordionist Rob Burger, guitarist Mark Orton, and violinist Carla Kihlstedt. The group's unique blend of structure, improvisation, and contemporary classical, folk, world, and jazz elements reflects each member's other performing experiences.

Kihlstedt majored in classical violin performance at the Oberlin Conservatory and went on to become a prominent performer in both classical and improvised music, playing with artists like John Zorn and Roscoe Mitchell, and recording with Eugene Chadbourne, the Grassy Knoll, and Tom Waits. She also appeared on Philip Glass' series Music at the Anthology, sings and plays with another Bay Area band (Charming Hostess), collaborates with choreographer Jo Kreiter, and is a graphic designer/illustrator as well.

Orton started playing guitar as a child and eventually studied composition at the Peabody Conservatory and the Hart School of Music. Also a professional recording and sound engineer, Orton worked on sessions with Bill Frisell, John Zorn, and the Lounge Lizards, and engineered the sound at the Knitting Factory for two years. Orton plays banjo, lute, dobro, lap steel, and electric guitar with his other group, San Francisco's Old Joe Clarks, and has composed scores for independent films like Beverly Wachtel's Just Noticeable Difference.

Burger studied classical piano at Juilliard and explored different improvisational styles at the University of Massachusetts with Max Roach, Archie Stepp, and Yusef Lateef. He broadened his range to include Hammond organ and vintage keyboards like the Optigan and Chamberlin, toy pianos and keyboards, and the accordion.

Burger has toured with Bill Frisell, Don Byron, and Joey Baron, and appeared on Frisell's Tales from the Far Side soundtrack. Since moving to the Bay Area, Burger has worked with artists as diverse as Tipsy and Mix Master Mike; he is also a member of the Oranj Symphonette, as well as his bandmate Orton's other project, Old Joe Clarks. As the Tin Hat Trio, they released their debut album, Memory Is an Elephant, on Angel Records in early 1999; Helium followed in spring 2000, boasting appearances from Tom Waits and an uncredited Mike Patton.

Two years later, the ambitious The Rodeo Eroded showcased their own unique music as well as guest appearances from Phish drummer Jon Fishman and Willie Nelson. 2004's Book of Silk went in a more abstract direction; that year, Burger left the band, while frequent collaborators Ara Anderson and clarinetist Ben Goldberg joined the fold. Reflecting their new status, the group rechristened themselves Tin Hat for 2007's The Sad Machinery of Spring. ~ Heather Phares, All Music Guide

.:: You know you've got a strange sort of magic going on when a scratchy vocal by Tom Waits (on the reprise of the hypnotic, chamber music meets French cafe and spaghetti western title track) is the least bizarre element. The trio of Rob Burger (accordion, piano, pump organ, marxophone, harmonica), Carla Kihlstedt (violin, viola), and Mark Orton (guitar, Dobro, banjo) offer a vision of what a chamber music group might sound like if they mixed a studio session for a Western film with a rhythmically diverse, often atonal classical excursion.

The opening track "A Life in East Poultney" finds a banjo plucking over a droning violin as bells ring in the background. That same violin does a seductive dance over a plucky organ base and accordion harmonies on the title track, which evolves into the image of a train blowing harmonica steam across the land. "Scrap" rolls like a schizophrenic fiddle tune, and then the fiddling slows down into a mosey on the wacky and atonal "Sand Dog Blues." And by that point, when the craziness is just beginning, you're either tripping and enjoying or wondering who these three are and just why they think this is commercial music.

The New Yorker put it best when it said their music is "a soundtrack for the kind of puzzling dream which leaves you sitting awake in the middle of the night." You will love it or loathe it, but you can't just shrug and ignore it. Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide~ Jonathan Widran, All Music Guide

download: tin hat trio - helium

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

dague de miséricord - dérobé

.:: Dague de miséricorde's Dérobé, a 3 track forray into improvisation. As we are taken down a path of anti-structuralism, we see images and textures emerging from what seems to be chaos, into amazingly well detailed scenes and moods.

The violins become intricate parts of the action and even actors, as we bear witness to every minute detail Dague de miséricorde offers to us; the silences become part of the instruments and what seemed chatoic at first is now an orchestration of movement, of action, in a graceful danse of sounds and images.

A welcomed breather from sequence and barriers, Dérobé's sounds are distant and strange, yet refreshing; they let the mind wander and imagine in perfect and beautiful randomness.

download: dague de miséricord - dérobé

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

mew - and the glass handed kites

.:: Producing dark and atmospheric songs, Mew posses a graceful beauty and create an epic sound with strikingly memorable tunes over which delicate vocals soar to angelic heights. Two years after their award-winning debut album Frengers wowed the critics, the Danish four-piece's follow-up, And The Glass Handed Kites is the fourth album for the dream-pop four piece but only the second to be available to a worldwide audience.

.:: Prog rock seems to go in and out of favor pretty quickly. Anyone remember The Mars Volta? Their first record was a prog renaissance, and their second disc split critics divisively. Was it a brilliant, long-winded masterpiece or just a lot of hot air and snobbish guitar playing with pretentious lyrics? Or was it both? Prog rock fans not satisfied by current offerings in America will have to consult the Danish band Mew for their latest fix.

We have all the hallmarks of a good prog record here: the rhythms are often reliant on non-traditional time signatures, songs fade in and out or run together instead of stopping and starting, and even the cover art seems ludicrously over-the-top in its inherent cheesiness. Also there's a "concept," as in Mew have made a concept album. I honestly don't know what the hell the concept is, though. Most of the lyrics are difficult to decipher. What I can glean is that we have songs about first loves and a chinaberry tree. We have semi-cleverly titled prog and metal clichés like "Apocalypso". We have a completely nonsensical album title that sounds cool while high or hoping to get high: And the Glass Handed Kites. The stars are aligned for a progressive masterpiece, and Mew certainly try to create one for us. Their noble attempt generates many excellent songs not easily confused with most of what currently appears on modern rock and heavy metal radio.

The album begins deceptively with a heavy instrumental bloated with loud guitars, toms that sound like tympanis, and a booming snare. Don't be fooled by the beginning, though, as the song slowly melts into a choral melody of pop extravagance. It's deceptive because Mew is more pop-based than they let on. My only previous Mew experience is a song called "Saliva". That track is pure piano-driven pop that bounces along with about five separate but excellent vocal hooks. The good news about And the Glass Handed Kite's bloated masturbatory excess is that the pop sensibilities of "Saliva" remain. "Special" moves from a straight forward verse and simple downbeat bass notes to a shifting chorus with strummed triplets on guitar. By the second time through the cycle, it's changed. "An Envoy to the Open Fields" is constantly cutting off your attempts to play air drums the beat at home, so don't try. You'll injure something if you do. All the while, however, the melodies convert the complex instrumentation into manageable sideshows for the superior main event. It's this complexity that will either turn listeners off or intrigue them to devote a few listens to these songs. And if they do listen more than once, those brilliant pop melodies will hook them for life.

In the hands of a less pop-minded band, these tunes would probably be mostly innocuous, but when Jonas Bjerre's angelic voice breaks from the intricate guitar lines, you're left with glorious pop music. And I mean glorious. Often complex and catchy, the melodies are frequently mimicked note for note by another instrument, be it guitar, piano, or xylophone. "Zookeeper's Boy" (just imagine the "concept" possibilities of that title) is the height of cheesy synths backing a melody that's either wordless or repeats the phrase "Are you my lady?" I can't tell. But I can tell that I remember its melody exactly.

What often saves this record from the tedium that plagues many prog bands is the length of the songs. Only two songs are longer than five minutes, and they're the last two, so you don't even feel bad if you stop the CD early. Actually, I'd recommend it. That would cut the album down from its prog-like runtime and provide you with 14 more minutes to try to figure out exactly what the "concept" is.

download: mew - and the glass handed kites

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

alexei borisov - abstractionist

.:: The legend of Soviet and Russian underground Alexei Borisov comes to the net with a selection of two astonishing abstract tunes.

It is an exclusive recording of live sets performed by Borisov during his combined American tour with Jeff Surak (Violet). "Artworks" is a name of a gallery in Richmond and "Cakeshop" is a club in Manhattan, NY.

Abstract electronics in the realm of the avant-garde is the forte of Russian sound artist Alexei Borisov. Two online albums feature live performances of this creative and sometimes perplexing underground figure.

The appropriately titled Abstractionist features two lengthy tracks of noise and tones. Often the sounds appears to have no real connection and are seemingly random although I suspect this is not the case. “Artworks” is the more abtract piece and requires your full undivided attention to appreciate it.

However “Cakeshop” is a little more accessible. A melody can barely be deciphered among the odd electronic drone but even this is soon lost is a bewlidering by fascinating collage of electronics and found sound. This is a challenging but rewarding listen.

download: alexei borisov - abstractionist

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

maserati - the language of cities


.:: Named after a second-fiddle Italian luxury car, Athens, Georgia's Maserati set themselves up for a superb analogy with the world of motorsports. A curious coincidence points us toward such a comparison: what band's name starts with "M", ends with "I", and plays grandiose, instrumental post-rock? If you said Mogwai, you made the right call.

Maserati's use of standard rock instrumentation and explorations of musical forms outside the genre may have come a few years too late -- bands like Tortoise and Shipping News being only two of the many acts to excel at this in the mid-'90s. Still, Language of Cities is an excellent debut from a post-rock band whose Athens, GA, roots would imply a more Brian Wilson-esque approach to songwriting.

Though most songs meander thoughtfully through tremolo-filled guitar passages tinted with soft-brushed cymbals, songs like "Keep It Gold" go for the more complex, forward-churning tendencies of bands like Polvo. The open spaces on songs like "Being a President Is Like Riding a Tiger" suggest that these guys have listened to some of the more organic IDM and ambient electronic music like Labradford or Aphex Twin, building textures instead of stringing along notes. Hardly a breakthrough, Language of Cities is more like a retrospective of all that was great about the last decade's instrumental rock without all the missteps that have made the genre such a cliché.

download: maserati - the language of cities

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

thurston moore - psychic hearts

.:: Thurston Moore has said that although he's flattered when younger bands cite Sonic Youth as an influence, it would be nice if the group were rewarded with greater record sales. Of course, Moore knows well why his group has a limited audience. While artists as diverse as Nirvana, the Beastie Boys and even Nine Inch Nails borrow from the Sonic palette – the feedback, dissonance, improvisation and sublime textures – they also employ the kind of pop hooks that Sonic Youth have consistently subverted in their own music. Even the Sonics' most easily digestible songs – "Kool Thing," "Sugar Kane," "Self-Obsessed and Sexxee" – ultimately consume themselves: a devastating blast of distortion here, a jarring tempo change there, a crescendo into total chaos. To question why Sonic Youth don't sell as well as the Beastie Boys is like wondering why Sun Ra was never as popular as Miles Davis.

The analogy isn't entirely gratuitous. Like the late Sun Ra, Moore is a total freak who takes great pleasure in mocking both the elitism of the avant-garde and the anti-intellectualism of pop culture. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone who has followed Sonic Youth that Psychic Hearts, Moore's first solo album, puts rock on trial in the High Court of Art.

Using pop culture – particularly cheesy 70s rock – as a metaphor for society as a whole, Moore castigates those who abuse the counterculture's most vulnerable denizens: young girls, sensitive boys, misfits and loners. In the title song his protagonist tells a girl who has been emotionally wrecked by her parents and peers: "My prayer to you is that you do all the things you set out to do/And live your life the way you love/But will you remember one thing for me?/I will always love you." It's a tender moment (despite the potential irony of that last line) for the sometimes hard to peg Moore.

Moore also attempts to restore rock's counterculture identity throughout Psychic Hearts, dropping the names of Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler in "Queen Bee and Her Pals," christening Yoko Ono the Queen of Noise in "Ono Soul," citing such 70s titles as Hotter Than Hell and "Fox on the Run" in "Cindy (Rotten Tanx)" and quoting, note for note, the gloomy melody from the Stones' "Moonlight Mile" in "Female Cop." In doing all this he plays a kind of Robin Hood, using his major-label status to return the music to the real underground, latter-day indie rockers such as the Grifters or Smog, who make low-fi music in their bedrooms.

Such gestures offer proof that Thurston Moore is the soul of Sonic Youth. That doesn't mean, however, that Psychic Hearts works like a Sonic Youth album. What makes the Sonics tick is their all-consuming band sound, the warm yet intimidating cavelike atmospherics, the ringing harmonics and microtonal interplay between Moore and guitarist Lee Ranaldo. Without bassist Kim Gordon's dark, moody and very female ruminations or Ranaldo's shimmering fret work and folk-based melodies, Moore – accompanied by guitarist Tim Foljahn and Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley – is left to his own devices: his chunky guitar and bass playing, feedback, drones, dissonance, angular song structures and whiny vocals.

The trio's monolithic din becomes somewhat tedious over 15 songs and more than an hour of music, but Moore allows his sound to evolve from the arty rock of the opener "Queen Bee and Her Pals" to the psychedelia of "Cherry's Blues" and "Female Cop" near the end of the album. Psychic Hearts closes with an exhausting, 19-minute composition that pits the Grateful Dead against the Velvet Underground: "Elegy for All the Dead Rock Stars" rises from three solid minutes of sustained guitar strumming to a dramatic storm of guitar, bass and drums before giving way to a gentle, meditative finale.

What's most impressive about Psychic Hearts, however, is that it paints a 3-D portrait of Thurston Moore the artist, who has often come off as too cool, detached and attitude-laden for his own good. The album doesn't hold together as seamlessly as Sonic Youth's classic Daydream Nation or sustain the momentum of Sister or Dirty. It probably won't win as many new converts as the Sonics' major-label debut, Goo. But as a coherent statement of purpose, as confirmation that Moore remains committed to experimental music and fascinated by the precarious relationship between high and low art, Psychic Hearts offers hope for an endangered species: genuine alternative rock. mark kemp - rolling stone

download: thurston moore - psychic hearts

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

roni size - in the mode

.:: With more big-time backing than any junglist save toothy Goldie, the Roni Size all-stars return with a punchy suite of material that sounds so crossed over it could snap. The big-beat drums continue to push drum & bass toward soulful house; the vocals by MC Dynamite as well as guests Method Man and Zach de la Rocha continue to demand hip-hop respect; and the form is repeated, again and again, over and over, at 180 beats per minute. A funky key lick that might bob and weave in an able DJ's hands goes stale quickly over the duration of a long-form CD, but still Size soldiers onward with barely a tempo change. It's mystifying, as he holds so many live wires in his hands.

Though the complaint department is firing full force over this seemingly unfinished release, make no mistake that crisp organic jungle standards such as "Ghetto Superstar" will continue to define the name brand, setting dance floors into a kinetic frenzy for many seasons past the shelf date. --Ian Christe

.:: Roni Size and his Reprazent crew do not make simple music. And he does not appreciate it being categorized as such. "I got very offended the other day," Size recalls. "I said to someone, 'What is this?' And they said, 'Oh, it's drum-and-bass with a rapper.' I thought, 'Come on! Is that the best you can come up with? Drum-and-bass with a fucking rapper?'"

Fair enough, such lazy categorization does a disservice to Size's furiously paced, multi-layered hybrid of hip-hop, drum-and-bass and jazz beats, a potent combo that earned his groundbreaking 1997 album New Forms England's coveted Mercury Prize for Best Album and remains just as stunning on his new disc, In the Mode. Highlighted by collaborations with Method Man, Zack de la Rocha and the Roots' Rahzel, as well as Size's growing understanding of American hip-hop and a dense layer of beats he refers to as a "wall of sound," In the Mode is as ambitious a release as any album in 2000.

But to merely recognize Size's recorded output is to miss a big part of the picture. As an artist, Size says he is driven by a desire to create something his fans can spread the gospel about with conviction. He wants them to believe it when they say to someone, "It's all about fucking Roni Size." And however impressive his albums may be, that kind of conviction comes from experiencing Reprazent live. Following in the tradition of bands like Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and U2, Size takes pride in the fact that most of his faithful have been converted at his concerts.

While it's unusual for an ensemble (Size emphasizes that Reprazent is a "collective," not a band) in one of the sub-genres of electronic music to be lauded for their live performances, Size says it was after witnessing another electronic band -- Prodigy -- that he made the vow to take Reprazent's stage show to the next level. "I ended up DJing in Amsterdam at a show with the Prodigy," he explains. "I knew of Prodigy years before that, and I've always DJed at certain gigs with them, but it wasn't until we got to Amsterdam and I saw them perform in front of like a 10,000 deep crowd and they smashed the place to fucking bits that I realized that I wanted to do what they're doing."

To Size, people finding the ensemble by seeing them play live keeps the music real, and not a product of the media. "We go onto a stage in the middle of France before an audience who have never heard of us and at the beginning of the show they're like, 'What's this?,'" he says. "Halfway through the show they start moving; and by the end of the show, they are going crazy. The beauty about what we are is we've been discovered rather than hyped."

There has been some hype surrounding Reprazent -- a lot, actually -- that's the flip side of winning the Mercury Prize. And though Size is shrewd enough to realize that collaborating with the likes of Method Man and de la Rocha will only add to the hype, he shrugs it off. "I'm just doing what I'm doing," he says. "I love Method Man, he's a true hip-hop character. And I'm excited not just by the thought of him on my album, but for him to actually flip it and bust a flow on there . . ."

As for de la Rocha, Size almost seems at a loss for words. "Zack is a fast-talking political agenda b-boy," he says. "It's like, 'What is he?' You put Zack on a Roni Size track, where it doesn't even sound like me, what does it become then? Tell me please. It's great that no one can actually pinpoint what it is. I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with."

Perhaps feeling a bit sorry for us though, he relents and provides a small clue as to how he would depict his music. "No matter what, a Roni Size track is not a jungle track. It's not a hip-hop track. It's fucking something else." STEVE BALTIN (October 24, 2000)

download: roni size - in the mode

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com

diamanda galás - schrei x

.:: Based on Diamanda Galas earlier work Schrei 27, which consisted of several short performances over the space of 27minutes, SCHREI X will alternate extreme high-energy vocal work with absolute silence. The work takes place in darkness.

The performances are chapters of a confessions with might have been induced through a chemical or mechanical manipulation of the brain. There is a high density of speech-sound over time which is often machine-like in its velocity. The work employs the atypical speech and vocal signal processing that Ms. Galas has been researching since 1979.

SCHREI 27 was a commission of the 1994 New American Radio series and was made possible by a grant from the Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest Commissioning Program, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund. It was developed for national broadcast with New Radio and Performing Arts. The development of Schrei 27 would not have been possible without the support of a creative residency at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN.)

The New York Times - 'In Performance' section Monday February 26, 1996

A Step into the Past Presented in Darkness

Diamanda Galas Knitting Factory

On Wednesday night, the avant-garde vocalist Diamanda Galas sang "Schrei X," a half-hour piece that she delivered in complete darkness. For 13 years Ms. Galas has been presenting works that are more performance based than this, most of them a response to AIDS. "Schrei X" was a step back, into a solipsistic blackness. Instead of being overtly political, the piece, based on a radio work she created in 1994, favored the more general themes of anguish and isolation present in her music from the early 1980's.

Ms. Galas stood in front of five microphones, and as she delivered "Schrei X" she moved her head around them, sending her voice swirling through a quadraphonic sound system. She alternated sec- tions of abstract utterances and si- lence with a mix of her own texts and passages from the Book of Job and St. Thomas Aquinas. The narrative sections were about transitions be- tween life and death, salvation and condemnation, sanity and madness, with Ms. Galas powerful voice con- veying the agony of being trapped in an intermediate are (such of being institutionalized or buried alive).

More revealing than the meaning of "Schrei X" was the sound. "Schrei" is German for shriek, but Ms. Galas did more. She growled, cackled, screeched, pleaded, wailed and sang, jumping as much as two octaves between utterances.

With a sparing use of digital ef- fects, she often mad it seem as if multiple speakers wer fulminating at the same time or as if the sounds were electronic and not human. In the darkness, "Schrei X" conjured not Dante's "Inferno" but a claustro- phobic internal hell where the same demons lurk.New York Times - 1996

download: diamanda galás - schrei x

pass: indie-ground.blogspot.com
Copyright © indieground