Roger Miller's status as a post-punk elder statesman is long cemented, but due to his stint as lead string stroker in Boston's revered Mission Of Burma, Miller's even richer work has been too often obscured by MOB's legacy. Whether bum rushing The Gates Of Dawn with his teenage brothers Ben and Laurence in his late '60s psych outfit Sproton Layer or miscegenating Philip Glass, Rocky & Bullwinkle, and Stravinsky for the avant-prog set in his 80's ensemble Birdsongs Of The Mesozoic, Miller's sensibility has always been reliably exploratory.
M2 is Miller's newest output alongside his kin. Unlike the full trio formation known as M-3, whose sound veered more toward warped improv rock, this LP by the duo of Roger and Ben jettisons all temporal or structural signposts. What remains is a creaking, heaving sphere of improvisational technique and pregnant expectation. Roger limits himself to a single prepared piano (an extension of his investigations into Cage and Stockhausen while studying at CalArts), while Ben maneuvers his way through various multiphonic guitar treatments. On "Epicenter" and "Aftermath", the Cage-ian clangor of Roger's sustain-pedaled attack evokes a kind of curdled gamelan, its subterranean tumult laced with sooty tendrils of guitar feedback. (via Mutant Sounds)
At Land's Edge can be purchased directly from Feeding Tube Records.
Neil Campbell had been toiling in the obscurity since the late '70s until his tenure in Vibracathedral Orchestra rendered him visible to those outside the bounds of the UK freak fringe circuit. But since then, he's been on a Cresta Run of snowballing attention.
With Astral Social Club, the nom de plume Campbell's used for his solo output since his departure from Vibracathedral, his bona fides as a mindfucker of the first order are writ even larger. Under this banner and over several dozen releases, Campbell's taken the ecstatically blown Eternal Music precepts that he picked up during his tenure in Vibracathedral and re-imagined them as fissioning energy fields and harmonic riptides of cosmic enlightenment.
"Och" highlights a startling new wrinkle in Campbell's arsenal, taking a nosedive into a groggy shangri-la of rotating canary carousels, digestive processes and angels alighting on the heads of pins. It's a gorgeous dilation of the Astral Social Club aesthetic that goes into zones more hypnogogically inclined than Campbell's usual onrush. But if "Och" traffics in dizziness, "Multiple World Speed" offers said onrush in spades. With its ecstatically arcing energy fields, the song operates on both synesthetic and stroboscopic levels, ensnaring you in an Alex Grey-like web of electrified awareness that sizzles with enough psychotropic pressure to trepan pineal glands at 100 paces. (via Mutant Sounds)
The Magic Smile CD is available for purchase from Wonderyou records.
Critically celebrated for his candy coated biomorphic abstractions, Alexander Ross' equally visionary feats of sonic Surrealism have until now remained an insider's secret. Thanks to Kemialliset Ystavat and Tomutonttu mastermind Jan Anderzen, the resplendent oddness of Ross' musical imagination is now finally available to be rolled around on the collective tongue of humanity once again via this vinyl reissue for his Vauva imprint.
Originally issued as a cassette on the cult electronic label Generations Unlimited, this freak fringe tour de force from 1989 has its navigational coordinates governed by the kind of psychically dislocating dream logic more associated with Nurse With Wound. Across the epic suite that comprises these two album sides, Ross' musical syntax pops with all manner of unexpected rhythmic and textural detailing. The friction and frisson generated by raking kernels of assorted organic ephemera from rolls of dice, clinks of ice or the rattle of bamboo wind chimes against the fur of his countervailing compositional gestures is responsible for generating a lot of the drama heard here. On the excerpt from Side A found below, they counterpoint foghorn-like trombone fanfares, ecstatic ethnological forgeries and welling tides of smeared orchestration. Grandfather Paradox is available at this moment from Volcanic Tongue in Britain and any day now from Fusetron in the U.S.
The vinyl release of Grandfather Paradox is out now on Vauva Records.
When a band gifts you with a self-descriptive bon mot like "Kosher-Kebab-Jazz-Film music", it's hard not to wanna run with it, but with a combo as musically multi-dimensional as these "Hammers Of The Underworld" (as their name translates), that thumbnail sketch of their sound merely scratches the surface.
A longtime cult fave in their native Finland, where they've been maintaining their uncompromising stance since 1997, this crew's raucous musical concoctions hibachi-dice pan-European folk music gestures into a cross-cultural mirepoix. Then they take this melange to an 11 on the intensity meter by tempering these stylistic trappings with outsized applications of madness and irreverence. "Hajakas", from their newly released sixth studio album Valta, offers ample evidence of their brilliance, wringing light speed miscegenations of Gypsy, Klezmer, and Polka motifs from percolating pump organs, capering clarinets, fuzzed cellos, and brontosaurus-like blurts from tubas, trombones, and trumpets. (via Mutant Sounds)
Valta is available from Wayside Music. Listen to the track here.
…And The Native Hipsters have been mining a musical vein as curious and abstruse as their ass-backward band name since their inception in the late '70s. Long a point of adored obsession or consternation in their native Britain, where John Peel terrorized an unsuspecting nation of pop fans with their deliriously recursive and unhinged sounding paen to obsessive subjectivity, There Goes Concorde Again, the duo of William Wilding and Nanette "Blatt" Greenblatt have continued to persevere against the fickle whims of public taste, despite all odds.
As evidenced by the track at hand, culled from their new CD "Original Copy", the muse that they've followed is singular enough that some 33 years later, their effortless melange of droll off-hand gestures and unexpected sophistication still exists on an idiomatic island that's solely their own. On Long Distance Running, they're joined by none other than production mega-legend Tony Visconti (Bowie, T. Rex, Gentle Giant), whose presence is a telling testament to the extent of their hold on Britain's imagination via Peel's campaign, whipping up a rich lather of arch-ironic, acid rock guitar masturbation as Blatt spills her proprietary blend of sing-song sprechtstimme and cheerful non sequiturs. (via Mutant Sounds)
Original Copy is available from the band's own Mechanically Reclaimed Music label.
Surveyor of the crumb and the crevice, the subliminal and the peripheral, Finland's Jani Hirvonen has quietly amassed a huge discography of exquisitely hand-hewn shoebox universes across an endless spill of multi-format micro-releases over the last decade under the Uton banner. His deft manipulations and penchant for extended textural abstraction lend his work a deeper gravitas than that of many of his contemporaries in the Finnish fringe music scene. With this latest outing for Finland's Ikuisuus imprint, Hirvonen teases a root strata of cryptic voicings into rhizomatic blooms of crepuscular esoterica that evoke the peak work of post-industrial psycho-geographers Zoviet France. This quicksand aural architecture is laced with quicksilver veins of richly bubbling drug gravy. On "Aquatic Memory," below, the result of these oblique strategies is a haunting, preternatural spill of alien birdsong, sub-atomic flutterings, distant gongs, and coppery metallic resonances.
Echoes In The Wonderland is now available from DNT Records.
Formed in 1978 in Washington D.C., Bomis Prendin are paragons of an as-yet-historically-unassimilated fringe musical phenomenon that seized on punk and post-punk's DIY ethic while refusing to curtail its countercultural freakishness or participate in the myopic disavowals of punk's year zero. From The Decayes to The Lemon Kittens, the notorious Nurse With Wound List of recommendations heaves with evidence of this unnamed tendency and among those included on that list that embody this stance, the post-Zappa/Beefheart and post-Residents/Ralph Records interzone that Bomis Prendin's initial two 9" flexi-discs from 1979 and 1980 occupy are prime exemplars. But while all of the original groups flying this kind of freak flag (barring the grandaddies of art damage, The Residents) have gone the way of the dodo circa 2012, Bomis Prendin happily still soldier on. This split LP with the hyper-prolific German avant garde sound artist Mama Bær (aka Andrea Katharina Ingeborg Hjuler) documents recordings of theirs spanning the years 1994-2005 and captures a moment when their aesthetic had morphed from the hermetically infolding song-forms and avant-pop elisions of their earlier era into dilated expanses of smeared and warping post-psychedelic action. Striated layers of delicately chittering and lysergically squalling guitar sounds (very Glenn Phillips-like on the latter) spin in strange loops within the amniotically thick atmospheres and intermittent interventions of ghosted and recessive song-form mutations offered as light relief.
Mama Bær's side-long "Das Dalai-Lama-Drittel-Retect" is another ball 'o wax entirely, evincing her immersion in the extremes of outsider sound art practice, with debts to the sound poetry recordings of Eugenio Miccini and the untutored musical improvisations of avant garde visual artists like Jean Dubuffet and Dieter Roth. It's a Dada/Fluxus/Art Brut-informed attack that lionizes the absurd, the awkward and the unnerving by way of shrill dictaphone recordings, sped up children's records, kleenex box percussion, low key vocal warbling and a single plucked string.
This album is out now on Domestic Violence Recordings and available from its parent label MNDR.
German free jazzers in the late '60s were routinely having their compasses re-set by their Year Zero encounters with the counterculture of the day. Can's Jaki Liebezeit, Guru Guru's Mani Neumeier, and Wolfgang Dauner were all transformed by this process, but stalwart free players, life partners, and instrument builders Limpe and Paul Fuchs would arrive on the Krautrock-centered German underground scene of the late '60s carrying a different set of ideas about what lay over the improvised music horizon. Valorizing free playing as part of an unfettered life-as-art path and enacting it with radical glee under the banner of Anima, their attitudes, nude appearances in underground films, recordings for hippie freak labels like Ohr and Pilz and the odd sonorities emanating from their homemade instruments kept them at arms length from most of Germany's free jazz scene of the time.
During a period in the early '70s, they joined forces for several albums with noted Austrian avant garde composer and improvisor Friedrich Gulda, a line-up documented on this remarkable looking and extremely limited tape. It includes both reissues a long unavailable set of Anima recordings from an obscure '70s compilation LP on one side and offers up a suite of new Limpe Fuchs recordings on the flip. Since the demise of Anima in the '80s, Limpe has kept up a low key but fascinating output, often focused on her interactions with elemental sound sources like wood and stone, which this tape's sculptural packaging pays homage to. A simple listing of the instrumentation on her solo side here speaks volumes: ballast string sculptures with a bronze weight, a foot zither, a serpentine stone row, various drums, percussion and voice. It's beautifully gauged and subtle work, but it's Anima's side here that will likely be grabbing you by the short hairs, with the three of 'em conjuring the uncanny by way of Addams Family tympani hits, atonal clavichord clusters, Limpe's cooing glossolalia and the evocative pitter-pattering of irregularly struck tuned surfaces.
Limpe Fuchs' "Unterwegs/It's Up To You" is out now on Male Bonding, grab a copy from Lighten Up Distro.
A model of evolutionary aesthetics and clever subterfuge, Felix Kubin and his label Gagarin have served as a nonpareil conduit for some of the most cockamamie strands of German avant-electronica to surface since the late '90s upsurge of activity clustered around labels like A-Musik and Mouse On Mars' Sonig imprint. 15 years into his adoption of the Kubin moniker, 25 years since his founding of the post-industrial outfit Klangkrieg, and 30 years on from his early teenage emulations of Neue Deutsche Welle icons like Der Plan and Die Welttraumforscher under the banner of Die Egozentrischen 2, TXRF emerges at a stage of career reinvention for Kubin that began with last year's unexpected, masterful, and nose-bleedingly serious collaboration with New Music repertory combo Ensemble Intégrales.
TXRF, however, operates at a 180-degree remove from the frostily severe avant-classical airs of that project and the delirious, Dada electro-pop deconstructions that he's most celebrated for. Here, Kubin confines his palette to a spitting MS-20 synth, a sequencer, and a few filters. What results is a starkly stripped spin on his sound, its cross-cut lines of strobe, serration, and liquescence harking back to his collaboration with Groenland Orchester's Günter Reznicek on their Ipsomat Legrand 10", while winking at 25 years of German Techno along the way. (via Mutant Sounds)
TXRF LP is out now via Experimedia
One time K Salvatore member turned operative in New York's sage institution of freaky outsider free action, the No Neck Blues Band, Pat Murano has been quietly turning out a series of acutely immersive electronic environments as part of a 12 LP series exploring the Zodiac. Decimus 4 is actually his seventh LP under the Decimus moniker, since they've been deliberately issued out of sequence to maximize collector confusion. Prior Decimus outings on Murano's own Kelippah imprint as well as Holidays Records and the Alga Marghen sublabel Planam responsible for this entry in the series have felt informed by both first wave Krautrock electronic merchants like Kluster and Seesselberg and the slurred, murked synth loop manipulations of post-industrial pioneer Maurizio Bianchi.
4, however, adds a whole 'noter sense of dimensionality to the Decimus equation, with glistening arteries of coiling and unfurling analog synth micro-activity doing a quicksilver slither through the more dominant gurgle surges of Murano's ever-modulating mix to increasingly reality-dissolving ends. Warning: this might cause spontaneous ejaculations among those inclined to palpitate over the likes of Sunroof! and Astral Social Club, so keep your hankies handy and steady yourself for the pore-penetrating kosmiche onslaught.
Decimus 4 is out now on Kelippah