30.12.08

Three By Three (Organum, Adam Pacione, M.B.)

Organum - Die Hennen Zahne
(Die Stadt DS57/DS66)

As some have lost interest in Organum over the years, possibly due to the more ambient styling of Jackman's most recent work, it's important to note that few musicians have pumped out years-worth of albums with such scrupulous vehemence as David Jackman has. This three inch lies on the cusp of the new direction in sound (As mentioned above) and contains a worthy slice of crafted metal scrapings and abrasive drone. Released just before the "Eucharistic" trilogy.

Buy it here

Adam Pacione "A Still Life"
(Infraction 022)

Included in the first 200 copies of Pacione's 2007 release "From Stills to Motion" this disc contains a 16 minute work of lightly lapping drones and pulsating undertones. Very nice. You can also find a track of his on the very good Elevator Bath compilation released earlier this year.

A Still Life
You can probably still get it here

M.B. "Bacterie"
(Taâlem alm34)

Maurizio Bianchi has been in the game for a long time. Since the late 70's he has proved himself to be a true pioneer of industrial minimalist tactics making it a goal to "produce technological sounds to work for a full awareness of modern decadence." I strongly believe that the most beautiful music is made through the filters of decay and slow demise. Bacterie is a fine example of this and only a sliver of what Bianchi has done over the last 30 years.

Bacterie
Might still have some here

28.12.08

Updates

Now available:


empress live @ Fake Jazz 10/22/08 download
(The last 7 minutes is missing, sorry about that but the audio was fucked beyond rectification)


Installation piece download
Original Post Here



Collapsing Lung and Ejaculation Death Rattle performances @ The Western Front download
(Redirects to post)

24.12.08

faraway press . part three

Vikki Jackman "Of Beauty Reminiscing"
cd, lp, FP09
lp
limited to 150 signed copies



The first solo endeavor of Jackman's. A fine example of Arvo Part or Satie-like minimal piano left to ring out in an endless void then smeared at the hands of Andrew Chalk. Of Beauty Reminiscing is a collaboration really, not much unlike Goldfall, but Jackman's patience at the helm of the keys is more evident with this release under her own name. A great late night drift. And if anyone sees the lp anywhere at a reasonable price let me know.


Marsfield "The Innocents"
cd FP10
Delayed forthcoming release. That's all I know.


Andrew Chalk and
Daisuke Suzuki "The Days After"
cd FP11


For some reason the duo decided not to release this under their Ghosts on Water guise. Maybe it's because they decided to mingle in slightly different territory, bringing the field recording aspect higher into the mix and incorporating some plucked strings. Don't get me wrong though, this isn't a folk record or anything, it's still drenched in the drone.

Ghost on Water "Untitled" cd ep FP12



Joined by Naoko Suzuki's vocals, Chalk and Daisuke deliver us a short offering of sparse keyboards, plucked strings and delicate drone.

Andrew Chalk "Time of Hayfield" cd FP13


The newest Chalk album released early in the year is a stellar collection of ambient drone pieces taken from material recorded during the Goldfall sessions. Doesn't feel at all like B sides or excess material.

Vikki Jackman plays electric piano on 'Seven Suns'.


Vikki Jackman "Whispering Pages" cd FP14




Green version limited to 50 copies

Second offering by Vikki Jackman on Faraway Press. This time around her and Chalk layer some Fennesz/Hecker-like pixelation atop the sparse drones and minimal piano plucking. A very beautiful album from this cat loving woman of mystery.

That's all for the Faraway Press releases thus far. Let's hope that there will be a lot more to come.

Faraway Press
Please consider purchasing this music

23.12.08

tame that guilty conscience. thoughts on downloading.

I’ve lately been on a surge of music grabbing. In my grabbing I have stumbled upon some interesting discussions of music sharing. I’d like to take this time to address the ongoing issue that is "free downloading." First off, I do not plan to resolve the issue for anyone, nor am I preaching or attempting to convert anyone. I am merely going to express my own opinion on the matter and blow off some steam. Although my attitude towards possession has always been one of vanity and loathing I must admit that I have developed a personal attachment to my collection of cds, lps and cassettes, and have humbly enjoyed it’s slow but sure growth over the years. In no way would I ever consider a download more valuable or even close to on par with it's physical version. The packaging completes the album; it is a representation of the music within. The experience of listening to an album is not complete without the physical act of removing the record or cd or lp or 8-track or whatever, and physically putting the music on.

With that said I still strongly believe in sharing music over the internet through streams and downloads for a number of reasons. For many people (myself included), music is not merely a healthy obsession, it is a life blood. If some kid in Wisconsin wants to hear a rare bootleg of a live Taj Mahal Travelers gig where the group performed naked on the roof of a monastery in the Andes and can't even afford to pay 1/10 of what it's going for on ebay because he works part-time at Home Hardware, he is left with only two choices: never listen to it or download it off of the internet. To me, it's a no brainer that music that is OOP should be available on the internet. Collecting music is expensive, and I sympathize with the kid from Wisconsin because even though I've poured a lot of money into obtaining music, I could never afford to hear it all. But like him, I need to hear much more than I can afford and by not doing so I would be cutting off my oxygen supply, stunting my natural and intellectual musical growth and curiosity. Maybe distributors and anti-downloaders should take a minute and consider the health factors.

So, what now…because I download am I going to stop buying music all together? Absolutely not. To me it isn't about downloading vs. buying, It's about getting to know as much music as possible. I am still going to pour buckets of money into the cause because I am a music lover who would pay for the album if it were available over having a crappy download in a second. And I think there are many people like myself out there.

I can't verify this, but my rational assumption is that the people who are downloading the most music are the same people who are funneling the most money into the hands of the artists. Ok, maybe that is wishful thinking, but there has to be some give and take. And yes, I do recognize that there are people out there who only download; but by taking away their right to do so, the rights of those that deserve to download are also taken away. Let me define deserve as I see it in this context. Imagine for a second the idea of "privileged downloading". The more one spends on music the more one is able to download for free, a sort of sliding scale. It would be impossible to regulate now with thousands of different share software providers and countless blogs offering free downloads, but should maybe be considered as a general rule of thumb for those trigger-happy downloaders who have 5 albums in the little compartment between the tv and the stereo but over 1000 on their hard drive. The more music you buy the better you should feel about downloading. I'm the type that needs to own my favourite downloaded albums anyways. So, unless it's too rare or expensive or both I will make the effort to track down the real version. Therefore, my scale is always more or less balanced.

Another thing that should be addressed (and this is a big one) is the quality of mp3s. No one should be satisfied with the quality of downloads, unless of course one is consciously transferring, say William Basinski's "Disintegration loops" onto cassette tape in order to fully grasp the weight of decay embedded in those loops, or maybe Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking of the Titanic" to further allude to the oceanic void by drowning the already saturated music in layers of tape hiss. Also, I'm having to constantly deal with corrupted links, missing songs, and wrong track titles almost to the point of saying fuck it, it's easier to simply buy the album. But I think that way already. It also goes without saying (but I will anyway) that downloading is a great way of discovering new music because most of the time sound clips and written descriptions are just a tease. Downloads are too, sometimes just a tease.

I hope that reads somewhat clear to people. As long as I continue this blog I will be posting free music for all you grabbers. But do me a favour and try to maintain a balanced priviledge scale.

Leave comments, I want to know people's thoughts on the subject.

faraway press . part two


Andrew Chalk "Blue Eyes of the March"
cd FP05

I used to have a radio show over at CiTR. It only lasted a couple of months but I do have some fond memories of the place. One of them being of drifting in and out of consciousness on the lounge room couch one night while listening to Blues Eyes of the March. I felt an odd sense of liberated dignity knowing that at a radio station with over 20,000 cds and many many records, I could still fill the air with music that would most likely never be replayed within those walls again. A music that drips with the sound of a submerged piano being played by the slow undulations of ocean currents. Pretty damn perfect, indeed.


Andrew Chalk "Goldfall"
cd, lp FP06

The next two are personal favourites of mine. Goldfall is simply stunning, as if Chalk extracted a portion of Eno's Thursday afternoon, turned it into a roll of ticker tape, held one end of the tape at the head of a large cliff face and watched it unravel to the ground. Then after rolling up the now beaten and partially damaged tape, he transformed it back into music again, thus leaving us with Goldfall.

First album featuring Vikki Jackman on piano. The second track is a reverse reworking of the first and equally as good. Packaging is incredible too. The cd a mini cardboard replica of the lp release. Both feature textured housing and a die cut(out) circle exposing the silk screened insert underneath. Unreal.


Andrew Chalk "The River That Flows into the Sands II"
cd, cassette C46 FP07

Along with Goldfall, The River That Flows II tends to remain in constant rotation. For the first few weeks I couldn't fall asleep to the album because it scared the shit out of me. I eventually got over it but I still get a weird feeling sometimes when listening to it. Aside from the gauzier center piece, I would consider this to be the darkest album I have ever heard. Not in the sense that the music sounds all that dark (ie Lustmord, Thomas Koner) but more for it's ability to set the listener in a state of unease as a result of it's foreboding characteristics. The hardest Chalk album to crack; but when I finally did, I never looked back. Held in the highest regard.


Andrew Chalk "East of the Sun"
cd, FP08

Here is a short review I wrote about East of the Sun back in April. this is it in it's original context

"Before I got the album I read somewhere that it was impossible to play loud. This is in fact the case and only adds to the overall appeal of this gorgeous slab of shifting drone and field recordings. Two looong tracks that require undivided attention but at the same time can fulfill a need for background noise. This is by far Chalk's most focused effort. I have always found that the two 20+minute track format has suited him best (Goldfall, Shadows From the Album Skies, The Days After). Great to play while meandering through a forest. Sounds slowly creep into the mix and it's hard to decipher if what you are hearing is that of the natural world or of Chalk's delicate sound palette. Simply put: A perfect record."

22.12.08

faraway press . part one

A three part post documenting the Faraway Press label releases.

How can I possibly begin to describe the work of Andrew Chalk? To me the task is equivalent to that of describing how mother's intuition works, or explaining the phenomena of deja-vu, or attempting to unlock the mystery of how the Egyptian pyramids were built. I can't promise that I'll do the man justice but I feel as though he at least deserves the recognition. The mysterious and brilliant Chalk has been making music since the early 80's, who has-in his nearly 30 years of playing the game-managed to craft some of the most elegant and timeless drone music I have heard to date. Before Chalk even started releasing his work through his Faraway Press label he was involved in a handful of impressive collaborative projects: Mirror, Ora, and Isolde, to name a few. He also just released a previously unavailable album of his now defunct Ferial Confine project. A stunning arrangement of bowed metal and junk craft. check it out on my highlights of 2008 post...and here are some other useful resources... brainwashed, Discogs.

I vividly remember my first experience with Chalk's music. It was over a year and a half ago. I was lying in bed with Vega in the disc man under flickering candle light in my old womb coloured bunker hole. I remember holding Chalk's signature textured cardboard packaging between my finger tips. Packaging that I would slowly become accustomed to but still to this day marvel at. At the time my naivety disallowed any possibility of an immersing experience. I simply wasn't ready for it. I put the album aside and it gathered dust for months. Now I think of that experience as a glimpse into my present state, as if that night was only meant to act as a guide for assurance of future experience. I think in my mind I was aware of the potency of the album but maybe felt as though I had to work my way up to it. And of course I eventually dusted it off and listened to it incessantly before pursuing the rest of the faraway press catalog, which, I have just now completed (except for the extremely limited run cd-rs). On with it...


Andrew Chalk "Shadows from the Album Skies"
cd, cd-r FP01

Ethereal yet ominous, Shadows from the Album Skies plays like the Apocalypse in slow motion. But it isn't the real world that's ending, it's the one in your head where you play God and can re-build the ruins in a fraction of a second. This is the perfect album for destroying and re-building your imaginary world. Originally the two tracks of Shadows were released separately as Shadows I and II in limited run cdr format on the Three Poplars label.


Andrew Chalk "The River that Flows into the Sands"
cd, cd-r FP02

The River that Flows into the Sands. The most recent puzzle piece in my Chalk collection, so it's what I've been obsessing over lately as far as FP stuff goes. I never really figured out how Chalk actually produces the sounds he gets. I think it's one of these things that is better left a mystery, so I try not to think about it too much. It's simpler to just get lost in the void he creates. He's definitely delved into effect laden guitar and piano but that alone is only my vague attempt at the truth. In any case, another hypnotic journey through murky depths and clouds of the nimbostratus type.


Andrew Chalk "Vega"
cd-r, cd FP03

First introduction to Chalk's music. Cave dwelling guitar drones emanate from underwater speakers and reverberate through kilometers of intricate and endless catacombs before reaching your ears. Pay particular attention to the subtle change at about the 11 minute mark of the first track, where a white light emerges from the darkness and swallows the music whole for the duration.


Ghosts on Water "Senshu" (Andrew Chalk and Daisuke Suzuki)
cd FP04

The first song is enough to make this release essential. Chalk has done a few collabs with Suzuki and the two make a good team smearing and intertwining their contributed sounds forming gauzy movements of hypnotic guitar, distant vocals and way below the surface field recordings. Really nice in packaging and sound. I managed to snag the limited gate fold edition. Well worth it.