22.3.09

Organum 'Submission' (Complacency, 1994)

It is albums like these that define music for me, and define what the Scrapyard Forecast strives to document. David Jackman has been crafting his minimal metallic dronescapes since the early 80's, way before this stuff was even gaining interest among the underground and decades before the current influx of DIY drone projects that seem to come a dime a dozen these days, making it very difficult to wade through the mediocre, of which there is plenty. Jackman's backlog is extensive to say the least, but if it's possible to get, you'll most likely eventually see it on this blog. He is one of my all-time favourite musicians.

CD

LP

This CD version was released in 94 on Dan Burke's (Illusion of Safety) Complacency label and is actually a reissue of the LP from 1988. Both are OOP but I managed to snag this at the Helen Scarsdale garage sale, along with the CD version of Sumac and an old Troum tape. Needless to say, I was stoked. Most of the more desirable titles have been snatched up, but there is still some great stuff available. View the items here.


The list of contributors for Submission reads like this: David Jackman, Andrew Chalk, Steven Stapleton and Dinah Jane Rowe. Had they have asked the likes of Jonathan Coleclough and Colin Potter to join, the list would read somewhat like a who's who of the late 80's/early 90's UK drone scene. The music that was being produced at that place and time never seizes to amaze, and I've made it a personal goal to collect as much as possible from a time and place that was busting at the seams with experimental genius.

Clocking in at a modest 37 minutes,
Submission treads similar paths as older Organum work- Horri and Crux come to mind, but with Chalk's keen hand and Stapleton's production ingenuity, the album summons the likes of space and time infusing these tactile compositions with a listful patience.

The first track,
Cowl, is a 6 minute offering of densely layered metal scrapings (Always note worthy), bowed cymbals and fluttering Japanese flute drenched in the mix. The track crawls along eventually giving way to the harsher, drone heavy The Expelled, a short but sweet track, sounding like jet planes soaring over a post-apocalyptic sky as mountains crumble in the distance, very reminiscent of older Organum material. Submission, the third track, is the clearest example of Chalk's involvement, and my personal favourite. It sounds very low-fi and warm, birds chirp in the distance as... something... like a golf club maybe, is whipped through the air. All the while random objects get tossed about as a very slow, elongated metal scrape relentlessly plows forth. You can also make out an engine being revved from far away, most likely from a Kawasaki KH400 or one of the other various bikes that Jackman used to own. Actually, a lot of the sounds from 'Tower of Silence' can be traced back to Jackman's motorcycles. Renunciate, the fourth and final track is the longest and although probably the most minimal seems to incorporate a wide range of sound sources: metal, bells, flute, voice/breath and probably a bunch of indiscernible things. A very good track and an appropriate close to this brilliant album. As with anything by David Jackman, this is highly recommended listening.


Submission

20.3.09

Oneohtrix Point Never - Ruined Lives

Oneohtrix Point Never Ruined Lives cassette on Young Tapes.

Download

18.3.09

Esoteric Soundscapes 2

Part 2 of an ongoing project started to bring to the foreground everyday sounds and placing them into an enjoyable and immersing musical context.

A whole month has come and gone... I'm sure you've all been plugging away at your lives as I have, wondering about the reasons to get up each morning. On this particular morning I decided to hop on my bike and take a ride Eastward along the Burrard Inlet towards New Brighton Park (I know that this probably means nothing to most of you out-of-townees but use your imagination). It was one of those mornings I love, a gauzy overcast hung in the sky with zero chance of rain and there was a strange stillness about everything. Most people were off to their 9-5 jobs as it was the middle of the week, maybe a Tuesday or something. I loitered around the park for hours, smoking cigarettes and kicking rocks around. There was a woman walking her dog along the shore and a guy leaning over the fenced dock staring out into the inlet. Other than the three of us the place was pretty much deserted. I walked around the ghost park some more, rock hopping down by the water, listening to it lapping against the dock while the hum of industry bled in from across the bay. I felt content and able to focus.

It was at this point that I spotted the see-saw or teeter totter or dandle board or whatever you want to call it in the park's playground. What struck me right away was the shear size of it and also the size of the springs by the fulcrum. I then thought, "I bet that makes an awesome sound."

I forgot to mention that it was colder than usual that day, which means the springs had less give and therefore were noisier. And as we all know, heat causes things to expand and loosen, while cold does the opposite. Ever wonder why your house creaks at night? it's because it's shrinking.

I worked with a few different techniques in moving the teeter, incorporating my feet and getting pretty physically into it-and at this point some more people had gathered in the park, most likely dumbfounded at the sight of some twenty-something-year-old bouncing up and down on a seesaw by himself. Ultimately I was trying to achieve some fluidity to the sounds, as if it was a natural force like the wind or the waves playing maestro to this rustic symphony rather than myself. Eventually I ended up with three separate recordings from three different areas of mic placement. I then took one of the recordings that I found to be more successful than the others and slowly worked a delay into it as I was copying it to tape. So below, you have the original recording and also the delayed/decayed version of that same recording.


C-saw Original (download)


C-saw Altered (download)


Since this project is still very new there should be no surprise in me bending the rules a little. I never said anything was set in stone right? Anyway, I think that The Esoteric Soundscapes project will most likely take a number of different forms during it's existence, of which, right now I can't tell you what those forms will entail as I don't know, I just have a feeling that it will probably evolve.

Nurse With Wound Salt Marie Celeste

This months accompaniment is from the ever prolific and most certainly talented Steven Stapleton, known in the music world as Nurse With Wound. Stapleton should not require an introduction at this point as he's been at the fore front of surrealist sound making for over 20 years now.

Although
Celeste contains many acoustic elements, it would probably never be lumped with the 'pure' field work of artists like Toshiya Tsunoda and Chris Watson. Yes, it does stray far from your typical field recording as the piece is mostly made up of elongated electronic drones, but at the same time because it alludes to murky ocean depths and because it has similar sonic characteristics to the seesaw recording, I figured that it was more then an appropriate match.


Salt Marie Celeste (Excerpt)


10.3.09

Jonathan Coleclough and Andrew Chalk 'Sumac' (Robot/Siren/ICR, 1997) Take Two...

Alright, just finished re-reading Junky by W. Burroughs, hanging out a bunch with work people but mostly by myself, drinking, smoking and aimlessly avoiding sleep until early hours, saw Wavelength and it's a visual drone masterpiece, my tinnitus is worse than ever, I've been avoiding shows, excited about the second esoteric sounds recording, been sparsely working-musically and for my income- but when I'm at work and during other times the world around me seems hazy, like someone has stretched Mylar paper over my eyes. Time just seems to pass and it's hard to remember details from my day, like a junky, who over the past year of his habit can only remember the times he was sick. But when you're "On the Nod" time stands still, like floating in a numbing pool of warm salt water leaving your mind with nothing to cling to.


Sumac swallows time.


The album is like that warm salt water. There are no particular moments to cling to, no hooks that get stuck in your mind. It is impossible to reflect on this work without coming back to the piece as a whole, because it can only exist as an entity of itself, from start to finish. It is a product of emergence, a complete sum of it's parts. Actually, I wouldn't even consider this album to have a 'start' or a 'finish'. When you hit play you aren't starting the album, you are simply given access to an eternal flow of sound that exist regardless if anyone is even listening.


When you are tapped into it though, and when you do let it slowly blanket your mind and body until there really is nothing else but
Sumac, that's when any conventional notion of time ceases and it is only in allowing the sound to overtake you can you then fully appreciate it's mind altering qualities.

Ok, I know I promised something that looked like a proper review of this album. Sorry to disappoint, but I simply can't do it.
Sumac doesn't exist as an album to me, it is something else entirely that is beyond attempting to define. I will provide an observation though, I have the sneaking suspicion that the piece is backwards, similar to the second track of Chalk's brilliant Goldfall album, a backwards remix of the first. Does this mean that there is another forwards version of Sumac locked away in Andrew's closet or Jonathan's backyard shed? We can only speculate, and hope that one day it might surface.

For the sixty of you have downloaded this already, look no further. If you haven't heard this, do not hesitate to make your world better.

If you want to own these, you had better be willing to shop around and to spend a few bucks. My advice is to be patient, it doesn't happen too often, but these do surface from time to time.

8.3.09

Rick Reed 'Dreamz/Blue Polz' Picture Disc LP (Elevator Bath, 2008)

Round two of the Elevator Bath Picture Discs... and this one's a beauty. Reed is a veteran when it comes to the brooding drone and Dreamz/Blue Polz is a good representation of what the man is capable of, and if you are unfamiliar with his work-as a lot of you probably fall into this category as he is just now making a lot of his music available and has for the most part kept a low profile- then this is a good place to start. Reed never studied music in school. In fact, he studied art and eventually left college to live in Austin, Texas, where he now resides. He always had an interest in music though and would often paint to a revolving soundtrack of Kraftwerk, Pink Floyd, and Tangerine Dream. He later purchased some cheap synths and started recording his own sound experiments and has since traversed in film, installation work, and field recording realms.

I originally heard these tracks on Reed's massive 4cdr retrospect covering 1978-2008 that I was able to snag at the Elevator Bath Anniversary Show in Seattle last year. unfortunately there are only 50 copies and you can't find any info on it on the internet...hmmm (As a light bulb flicks on somewhere). It covers a lot of ground, containing newer material from 2004 onward, recent collaborations and older long out of print cassette material and each cdr case has a different original painted cover done by Reed. Furthermore, he also has a track featured on the still fresh Elevator Bath Compilation cd that's damn solid. In fact, all the material on that comp is really good, so scoop it up, here.

The Visual-

As I mentioned above, Reed is a painter and has been actively involved in the visual arts for over 20 years. I am not wise to the methods or ideas behind Reed's abstract blending of colour and form but all I can think of when I gaze at this album art is a sun setting on the horizon of some far away planet, maybe Neptune or Pluto, barren and isolating yet eerily comforting.



The Aural-

Dreamz (2007) starts off with a muted electronic clatter that is quickly taken over by a dense tone, everything wrapped in what could be short-wave radio static. The track then undergoes a series of fluctuations and swells, leaving the static behind and churning onward as a multi-faceted (sine?) wave of pure synth flatline drone eventually mutating into a sinister crawl. At about the 16 minute mark the track takes a rapid shift as Reed introduces a Fennesz/Hecker-like pixelated synth loop, so dreamy and hypnotic that it could stretch over a whole side of vinyl and I probably wouldn't tire of it. The flip, Blue Polz begins with a much more glitch electronica feel, sonar pulses pepper the opening 3 minutes giving way to more of that dark ambient synth drone that Reed handles so well. A slow throbbing pulse eventually takes over maintaining itself for the duration, so slow and methodical reminding me of early Mirror, and anything even remotely close to the Mirror sound is worth getting excited over. Impressive stuff.

260 copies.

6.3.09

Jim Haynes 'Eraldus / Eravaldus' Picture Disc LP (Elevator Bath; eeaoa206, 2008)

Allow me to start off by stating the obvious: picture discs are beautiful. It's true that they don't sound as great but it's well worth it simply for the visual quality. This and the Rick Reed Picture Disc (Saving that for the next post) are particularly striking as they're packaged and presented in a clear plastic sleeve allowing all those who wish to gaze upon them to do so with absolute ease -and gawking faces.

The Visual-

Jim Haynes
rusts things. But it is in grander ideas of decadence and deterioration that Haynes holds central to his artistic endeavors. The images on this picture disc are examples of his corroded photographs, where Haynes has developed a process of embedding distressed copper and steel into the surfaces of these photos, reactivating their photosensitive properties causing remarkable rustic bruising that is visually both fascinating and remarkable. Over time (In some instances even years later) these seemingly ephemeral reactions continue to subtly shift in colour and texture, resulting in an ever-dynamic visual display of ongoing decay. You can view his exhibitions here




The Aural-

Jim is a busy guy. As a visual artist, music writer, co-owner* of Aquarius Records, Editorial Director of 23five, overlord** of the Helen Scarsdale Agency, and one-half of the "eco-minimalists" known as Coelacanth it's hard to believe that he's had any time to make music of his own. In any case, he has ventured out on his own, conjuring up some really solid work. No exception with Eraldus/Eravaldus (which translates directly as 'allocation/personal property' from Estonian), a record that is so steeped in decay it's hard not to fall apart yourself after listening to it.

Eraldus starts things of with a static current that slowly builds and eventually sounds like a helicopter crash landing into a giant cavern, then seamlessly gives way to pressurized drones covered in years of dust, debris and melted wax. Eravaldus begins in similar territory but is an overall more abrasive affair. Amplified space and agitated atmospheres ring out over corroded landscapes, a black hole of sound, swallowing everything in proximity. From start to finish this record is an exploration of space and time and it's relation to sounds, patiently transitioning from one sonic environment to the next. These are the sounds of mountains eroding away and (malleable) shorelines dissolving into the oceans, only sped up so we can listen to our Earth crumbling before our eyes. I am beginning to love the idea of decay; I tend to go about my day with the idea lodged in the back of my mind. Jim has really taken it to the next level, embodying the idea in his art and life and now in this spectacular record.

Get it if you can...260 copies. Elevator Bath

* Edited from co-founder, **Edited from member (Saturday, October 19, 2009)

3.3.09

Michael Snow 'Wavelength' @ The Pacific Cinematheque


In conjunction with Isabelle Pauwel's video installations at Presentation House Gallery the Cinematheque will be presenting 2 films: Robert Altman's excellent slow paced psychodrama
3 Women and Michael Snow's Wavelength.

I knew nothing of
Wavelength before getting the low down through the Cinematheque (e)mail-out, but it's got me all believing in cinema again (don't over think that one). Though, since I haven't seen it yet and know nothing of Michael Snow I'll leave you with words from a website:

"Canadian master Michael Snow’s legendary structuralist classic is one of avant-garde cinema’s most celebrated and influential works — "The Birth of a Nation of underground films" (Manny Farber). The work consists of a single, continuous, 45-minute zoom shot across a room (the artist’s New York loft), set to a
steadily increasing sine wave of sound. There are several episodes of human "drama" and various structuralist elements (superimpositions, splicey jumps, variations in light, colour and film stock) disrupting things along the way. "Wavelength is without precedent in the purity of its confrontation with the essence of cinema: the relationships between illusion and fact, space and time, subject and object. It is the first post-Warhol, post-Minimal movie" (Gene Youngblood). 45 mins." (taken from The Cinematheque website)
*I know that I'm not quoting properly but I pawned my MLA handbook years ago....sorry.

Showtimes for
Wavelength,
Monday, March 9 at 7:00pm
Wednesday, March 11 at 9:20pm

Showtimes for
3 Women,
Monday, March 9 at 8:00pm
Wednesday, March 11 at 7:00pm

Excerpt from
Wavelength



One of the Weirder scenes from
3 Women with the music sounding like something from Homotopy to Marie.



I recommend playing them together and turning your screen off.
Make it out if you can.

1.3.09

The Skull Defekts 'The Drone Drug' LP (Actual Noise, 2008)


Emerging from the noise trenches of Gothenburg and Stockholm The Skull Defekts have had a busy last couple of years churning out releases on all sorts of labels from around the globe, including Kning Disc, Cut Hands, Fang Bombs, Release the Bats, Important, etc... The Defekts tend to throw something new at the fans with every release, sometimes glitchy electronic and noisey, sometimes damaged and hypnotic post-punky, and other times even venturing into Sunroof! style blissed-out psych scree territory.


I'm not too familiar with the Defekt's backlog but I had to take a chance on this one being called "The Drone Drug" and all, and because it came highly recommended by none other than Roger Mexico. This, being the LP version, came out in 2008 on Actual Noise included with it a coupon for a free mp3 download of the album and an extra track, which might or might not have been on the original CD version (Release the Bats Records).

Well, it didn't disappoint as this is right up my alley of seriously heavy, damaged and hypnotic drone music. Dense layers of thick distorted drone spew from this record like molasses while all the while underlying elements buzz, creak, and shimmer in a constant loop -sometimes even sounding like the LP is caught in a groove- blanketing your mind and coaxing it into a state of disillusioned isolation. Imagine Acre remixing Earth 2, or maybe your refrigerator humming at 1000 times it's normal volume. A very enjoyable and immersing
experience. Limited to 500 copies and fading fast.


Actual Noise is a label out of Olympia, Washington and according to their
website and the Discogs page this is their first and only release thus far. Although it looks like they have a few things in the works. Keep an eye out.