Hitoshi Kojo 'Ezo' 10" (Alluvial Recordings, 2009), Spiracle "Ananta" Cdr (Mystery Sea, 2006)

I've decided to forgo this months' esoteric sounds as I haven't had all that much time or all that much inspiration to get out there and explore and record. Instead I've been working on some Empress sounds at home and at the "studio" (A bit frustratingly) and listening to a lot of the new music I've been getting lately. More field stuff for April though, so don't worry if you're into that stuff, 'cause I still most definitely am. Thus, I've decided to cap out the month with this Hitoshi Kojo/Spiracle post and maybe squeeze in one more post of another gem from the new pile.

Oh man is this hitting the spot right now. Anyone into the scraped metal compositions of Organum or Ferial Confine will surely dig the work of Hitoshi Kojo (aka Spiracle), and this 10" could just be the best thing he's released yet. Hiruko opens with strange creepy crawling bubbly sounds that maybe take a bit to get used too but once you do, you realize the piece couldn't be without it. Then a deeply resonating drone erupts and the track starts to unfold into elongated bowed metal explorations. High and low ends weave past one another effortlessly, bleeding into the B side, Ebisu, where they continue on-sans bubbly sounds-and then get pulled apart, sounding like David Jackman remixing dans le ventre du dragon, the third track on Jean-Francois Laporte's brilliant and underrated Soundmatters release. (*) Ezo is a fantastic 10" and still very new. You can order it from Alluvial and Aquarius for sure, and probably a bunch of other places. Recommended.

And those of you who are familiar with
Wire magazine will surely know of the Wire Tapper, an ongoing series of cd compilations given with certain issues of the magazine. Kojo prepared a special short edit of Hiruko exclusively for the 21st Wire Tapper that came with the April issue.

Download it ------> Hiruko (edit)

The Hitoshi Kojo Timeline

Here's an album from a few years back released on the always engaging Mystery Sea cdr label, who have put great music out into the world in limited runs (100) by artists such as Aidan Baker, Celer, Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words, Paul Bradley, Troum, Coelacanth, and the list goes on. Check out the website and buy the music. Not much I can say about this one other than it's quite a gorgeous slow shifting, if at all, piece of minimalism. A nice album to lose yourself in, with very minor fluctuation to take away from the drone. Noisy but not really, a distant noise...muted if you will. Nice stuff as with all the MS material.


Daniel Menche and Venessa Renwick Perform @ Signal and Noise Toworrow, VIVO

Oregonian noise guru Daniel Menche will be collaborating with visual artist Venessa Renwick rounding up the "Animal Mirror" program for tomorrow evening at VIVO. The whole thing starts at 6:30pm but Menche and Renwick probably won't go on until 8. At least this is what I've been able to make out from the website, which isn't all that clear. Anyway, I'm hoping to make it out and don't blame me if I've just given you false information because if I have, I'm going down with you.

Oh, and I sent in a submission to play Signal and Noise this year but was rejected. You can all go burn your copies of
Malleable Shore now...just kidding. There's always next year.

Signal and Noise

Daniel Menche


Illusion of Safety | Thomas Koner 'Untitled' Split 7" (Die Stadt, 2002)

Here's a teaser by two veterans of 'difficult' sound making. Dan Burke-who also runs the relatively quiet Complacency label-is the Sun to this constantly orbiting solar system of a group known as Illusion of Safety, who have dabbled in just about everything from post-industrial DIY tinkery, blissful ambient, tape collage, weird-o house beats and everything else in between. IOS seem to conjure up a new direction with every release, probably on account of their constantly revolving line-up. Despite this however, and with almost 30 years under their belts and countless releases, they have somehow maintained an oddly present continuity that lies beneath all the madness, bringing to mind Nurse with Wound or The Hafler Trio. Burke has also just released a collaborative effort with Thomas Dimuzio culled from older San Fran live performances. It's called Upcoming Events and sounds pretty good from the samples, although I haven't been able to snatch one yet. Can anyone out there hook me up with a dl for it while I wait in limbo? Much appreciated.

Thomas Koner (Imagine an umlaut over the 'o' of Koner) is a German media/sound artist who dabbles in much more minimal territory: the deep, dark and ominous drooone. And yes, I am very keen on the droooone. I am also, however, relatively ignorant to the work of this man outside of ripped versions of
Nuuk, Teimo and Permafrost, of which I've enjoyed a hell of a lot...well, as much as one can enjoy a pirated version. This 7" then, acts as somewhat of an odd but most certainly cherishable document in my collection, not to mention it is exquisitely packaged- the vinyl as thick as the nine iron from your disc golf set (as if you actually have a disc golf set).

The tracks on this 7" are what you would probably expect from these artists, that is, if you are familiar with them. Although, maybe it's a bit difficult to expect anything from IOS. I really like this, but you better just listen to it and make up your own mind. Limited to 400 copies.

Windy and Carl 'Antarctica' LP (Darla, 1997)

This was my first introduction to Windy and Carl's music. I have Mark from Thee Expressway to thank for turning me on to this one, a classic as far as I'm concerned. Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren-who also own and run Stormy Records out of Dearborn, Michigan, have spent 15 years perfecting their brand of shimmery ambient minimalism releasing albums for Darla, Ba Da Bing and their earliest material through their own Blueflea label. The bulk of their releases finding a home at Chicago's Kranky imprint including their last effort Songs for the Broken Hearted, a definite favourite of last year and Windy Weber's solo effort I Hate People split released on Blue Flea and Kenedik, is still in constant spin around these parts.

Windy and Carl are also doing their first North American tour in over 6 years. They aren't coming to Vancouver but will be making a stop in Seattle, Washington so I'm pretty much there. White Rainbow! is opening. Should be a stellar evening. Check out their site to see if they're coming to your town: Windy and Carl official site.

The opening track and appropriately named Antarctica is probably the best thing that has ever been produced by this duo. This is the sound of glacial traveling, of trekking over a barren Tundra landscape, the blinding sun in the form of twinkling guitars force their way into your eyes, blanketing the land in a blinding white sheath. All the while the start of your journey is far behind you and the end is impossibly distant. All there is is a vast open void that swallows everything, the near static pulse of your heart beat is the only thing to cling too, but it too is slowly loosing it's battle with the void. Eventually you make it to your destination, weather beaten and faint, not so sure of the forces at work in this unforgiving wasteland, and the only thing you are sure of is that you'd give it all up to do it again. Traveling and Sunrise are lighter affairs and blend seamlessly into each other. They are like the sipped hot tea after your arduous journey, or the winding car ride home, your body aching from exhaustion and all that's left to do is to gawk at the passing trees from the passenger window. Dreamy drifting guitar phrases, windswept ambient choruses and subdued, ever shifting tonal meandering. What more can I say? Lovely.


Svarte Greiner 'Penpals Forever' Cassette (Digitalis Limited, 2008)

Some of you may remember or have gone back and read the A Room Forever post from way back when I started this blog last September. That was around the time I first heard about Erik Skodvin, aka Svarte Greiner and his brand of abstract acoustic doom. Til Seters, Skodvin's ARF effort blew me away so I immediately picked up this limited cassette (180 copies) from Digitalis, released a month later, which is also quite good.

I listened to this one morning walking home from a busing shift at the restaurant, totally deranged from working the night through, seeing the sun rise and doing shots all evening. The tape player I was using had a subtle yet distinct warble that gave the sound a real bedroom quality, if it gets any worse I think it will start to annoy me but for now... I dig.

The Music-
The opening meandering guitar plucks would come off as somewhat amateurish in lesser hands, but Skodvin manages to blend in a second guitar part and an ominous bassy drone into the mix subtly and gracefully taking the music to other realms. All the elements loop and decay for ten minutes until lending way to a single flute-like tone. Then comes 5 minutes of silence...yes, silence. But it isn't really silence is it? This is a tape we are talking about. The silence is well worth it as the side closer is a really nice deep resonating swell of barely there sonic pulses and detrital manipulation, although ending a tad sudden for my taste. The untitled flip side is a single slow paced crawl, very similar to the A closer, guitar plucks and scraped objects dance over a very pretty two note ambient loop, the fuzzed-out background clanging eventually bleeding through to the foreground and overtaking the track then fizzling out. Solid.


Updates 04.10.09

Just wanted to note some updates to the Scrapyard...

The Faraway Press downloads are now in compressed zip files. Download with ease here, herehere. You are also going to want to buy these. Check out these distros for Faraway Press material.

Faraway Press
Helen Scarsdale
Forced Exposure

New photos for the Submission and
and Saiten In Flammen posts. I've also gone back and dated a number of releases from older posts and will continue to do this in the future.
That's it.

today's fortune-

Isolationism yields enlightenment.


Mirror 'Ringstones' LP (Some Fine Legacy, 1999 [Second Edition, 2001])

Caught myself referencing Mirror in a few older posts, so I decided to re-visit this epic drone work by the always wonderful and always mysterious Andrew Chalk and Christoph Heemann. Mirror started up sometime around the late nineties and laid their first masterpiece (and still my favourite) Eye of the Storm onto vinyl in 1999, soon complimented by this release later that year. For five solid years to follow Mirror would release about two dozen albums, maintaining an aesthetic of meticulously hand crafted packages - that are an absolute pleasure to hold and gaze upon. The music sometimes dark and brooding while other times ethereal, but always stark, bare, minimal drone.

Ringstones was released in three editions on separate occasions. First edition of 600 numbered copies with two inserts, 1999. Second edition of 250 clear vinyl copies pressed in 2001, with a signed and numbered 12" x 12" screen printed textured insert- this edition. Third pressing of 200 copies on clear wax with two inserts, 2005. I'm sure they're all nice. The textured screened insert is gorgeous. Hand signed and numbered with the bottom edge of the insert fringed and dyed green. Doesn't get much better. Sadly it's now out of print.

Two icy side-long epics here. The A is a 26 minute dive into endless shade, a pulsing current flows atop distant metallic shimmer slowly building and decaying, reminding me of some of the more minimal David Jackman material, but undoubtedly the sounds only Mirror could conjure up. The flip plays out as an extension of the A side. I think the only proper way to grasp the album is to understand it as a whole, as one long movement of sound, the physical break in between sides acting only as a brief intermission to the entire peice. So mysterious and so lovely.


Charlemagne Palestine and Christoph Heemann 'Saiten In Flammen' LP (Streamline, 2009)

Brand new release from Streamline. Picking up from where there 2008 collab "The Apocalypse Will Blossom" left off, Palestine and Heemann have together crafted another beautifully ominous and lush album of low-end piano hammering and electronically smeared drones.

Charlemagne Palestine is a minimalist composer who has been making music since the early 70's. He specializes in trance inducing long form piano-drone pieces and extended oscillating electronic and white noise music, often times sharing similar characteristics with the works of La Monte Young, Popol Vuh, Terry Riley and Tony Conrad (Hence spawning certain collaborations such as the 2006 release "An Aural Symbiotic Mystery" with Tony Conrad). Despite his incredibly brilliant musical output (and strange stuffed animal obsession) Palestine continues to remain in obscurity, overshadowed by his contemporaries. More info on Palestine here.

Christoph Heemann is also not exactly a house-hold name, but definitely not one to be overlooked. Making music since the early 80's (and probably before that) Heemann has had an impressive output of releases in collaboration with many note-worthy artists and also on his own terms. He started making music under the guise Hirche Nicht Aufs Sofa (H.N.A.S.) which translates to "Moose Without a Sofa." Probably most impressive though, and my personal favourite is his work with Andrew Chalk in the enigmatic and seminal drone project Mirror. More info on releases and collabs here.

Saiten In Flammen, or "Strings In Flame" is a brilliant album. What I find so remarkable about Palestine's work and particularly about this release is that although these pieces are heavily saturated in dense layers of hammering chords and noise, there remains a heterogeneous characteristic to the compositions. Deep listening reveals subtle nuances and flickering overtones among these claustrophobic textures that seem to almost manifest themselves not as a result of the artists consciously attempting at these tones, but more so as an accidental bi-product of creation. This music dances. It is dark and brooding, but it is most definitely alive.

Sourced entirely from a 97 key Bosendorfer Imperial piano played by Palestine and later reworked and processed by Heemann's experienced hand. Both sides are fantastic. Pick it up if you can.