Laughter

the human race has one really effective weapon


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2014 Year in Review, Pt. 1 (Dusted in Exile)

Normally I’d post a lengthy year in review here, but this time around I’m just going to link to the Dusted and Brainwashed year-end lists I was a part of, then maybe cap it off with a list of last minute records I heard or ordered that I think deserve some attention.

So, here’s a snippet from my Dusted writeup. Much more after the link. And take some time to look at what the other writers had to say about their 2014 favorites. There is lots of good stuff from everyone involved:

This year was filled with great music from start to finish. There wasn’t a single month that didn’t see the release of something exciting. As winter approached, the continuous flood of exceptional recordings became increasingly hard to follow. By June, keeping up had become little more than a laughable daydream, never mind everything that came out between October and December. Lots of people probably feel this way every December, but 2014 was the year I was swept away. 

Looking back at the time line, it’s easy to see why. Tara Jane O’Neil and Damien Jurado released their records in January, Anne Guthrie’s Codiaeum Variegatum bowled me over in February, and the Toshiya Tsunoda/Manfred Werder collaboration landed in March. Politiken der Frequenz rolled out in April and Carl Hultgren’s first solo album won me over at the end of May. I married my wife in June and shortly thereafter started new work, where listening to new music every day wasn’t part of the job. Erstwhile had already put out the Jürg Frey and Radu Malfatti 2CD by that time, in July. Kevin Drumm and Jason Lescalleet’s The Abyss came out with it and a month later the new FKA Twigs was on the shelves. That one was less impressive than I had hoped, but it still spent a lot of time inside my head. 

And these are just the first albums that come to mind. Coppice, Florian Hecker, LCC, Machinefabriek, Poemss, Protomartyr, Sun Kil Moon, SunnO)))/Ulver, and Nicholas Szczepanik all issued new music in that same period, all worth hearing.

(Read More)

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Three Concerts: Michael Pisaro, Kevin Drumm + Jason Lescalleet, Joe Panzner + Greg Stuart

Photos from three shows in Boston, Massachusetts: November 6th, 7th, and 11th (2014). Music by Michael Pisaro, Antoine Beuger, Eugene A. Kim, Teodora Stepančić, Assaf Gidron, Adi Snir, Kevin Drumm, Jason Lescalleet, Joe Panzner, and Greg Stuart. Photos include program details. Click for larger versions.


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Jason Lescalleet and Kevin Drumm on the Road

As reported by Tiny Mix Tapes:

11.07.14 – Somerville, MA ­ – Hassle Fest VI (156 Highland Ave.) *
11.08.14 – Montréal, QC ­ – La Vitrola ­(4602 Boulevard Saint­Laurent) *
11.09.14 – Toronto, ON ­ – Double Double Land ­ (209 Augusta Ave.) *
11.10.14 – Detroit, MI ­ – Trinosophes ­(1464 Gratiot Ave.) *
11.11.14 – Lafayette, IN ­ – The Spot ­(409 S 4th St. Wednesday)
11.12.14 – Cleveland OH ­ – Now That’s Class ­ (11213 Detroit Ave.)
11.13.14 – Albany, NY ­ – Upstate Artist’s Guild ­ (247 Lark Street)
11.28.14 – Mexico City, Mexico – Festival del Bosque Germinal *

* Kevin Drumm & Jason Lescalleet

This Is What I Do Volume Two is currently available from Lescalleet’s Bandcamp site. It will be deleted upon completion of Volume Three, so get it while you can.


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The Monthly List: November’s Top 11

Here we go with the November list. Most magazines and digital publications are already publishing their favorite records of the year, or are at least setting the stage for their “best-of” list.

My year end review won’t show up until after the new year, as there are numerous releases from 2013 that I’d still like to hear, plus I’m not terribly inclined to rank things , so I’ve been doing very little calculation about what I’ve liked better. You can always look over my lists from the past months to get a sense of where my ears have been lately.

As for the records below, links to my favorite sites for reviews and information are found at the bottom of the page. You can always find good info at Brainwashed.comJust Outside, and All Music Guide, and samples are available virtually everywhere. Forced Exposure and Boomkat places are good places to go looking for the more obscure stuff.

Formats posted are the ones I own; others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.

  • Graham Labmkin/Jason Lescalleet, Photographs on ERSTWHILE (2CD)
  • Graham Labmkin/Jason Lescalleet, Air Supply on ERSTWHILE (CD)
  • Graham Labmkin/Jason Lescalleet, The Breadwinner on ERSTWHILE (CD)
  • Jason Lescalleet, This Is What I Do Vol. 1 on GLISTENING EXAMPLES (CD)
  • Kevin Drumm, Earrach on SELF-RELEASED (2CD)
  • Songs: Ohia, The Magnolia Electric Co. (10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) on SECRETLY CANADIAN (2CD)
  • Songs: Ohia, Didn’t It Rain on SECRETLY CANADIAN (CD)
  • Magnolia Electric Co., Trials & Errors on SECRETLY CANADIAN (2LP)
  • Loren Connors, Hell’s Kitchen Park on ENABLING WORKS (LP)
  • Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home on COLUMBIA (CD)
  • The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Electric Ladyland on REPRISE (CD+DVD)

 

 


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The Monthly List: September’s Top 11

polo_grounds_imgLots of new music shows up on this month’s list. And though there’s a new Autechre EP on the way (out October 28th; some of you probably have it already), I went back to Exai all last month. Definitely one of my favorite records this year, and one of the best albums Warp has released in the last few.

I also spent a lot of time with some of the new Mystery Sea releases from Belgium. Both Philippe Lamy’s Drop Diary and (G)W(3) from the duo of Bruno Duplant and Darius Ciuta are excellent records worth seeking out. I wrote a review of the former for Brainwashed and hope to cover the latter soon. Both can be purchased on the Mystery Sea blog.

William Winant’s Poon Village debut—incredibly it’s his first solo artist record too—will be released shortly. I’ve been lucky enough to work with PV on the release of the album and have had the chance to hear it many times over the last month or two. It’s as good as the reviews make it sound and I’ve fallen in love with Michael Byron and Lou Harrison’s music because of it. Plus the presentation is pretty mind-blowing. A ton of work has gone into it and I’m excited to see how people react, so be sure to check it out. Sound samples are available online and there’s already a lot of press covering it.

Last but not least are two releases from Kevin Drumm; one from 2012 the other new this year. Keeping up with this guy is virtually impossible, but I keep trying anyway. You can read my review of Earrach here, and I’ll try to get a few words about Humid Weather together before long. With so much music to cover, I’ll probably end up writing a few brief summaries just to catch up. I desperately need more time to write.

Be on the lookout for more great music in the coming months. Erstwhile already has two more releases out that I’d love to cover as soon as possible, including one gorgeous looking double CD from Graham Lambkin and Jason Lescalleet. Lescalleet, like Drumm, is now on Bandcamp, and releasing new music there, as is Howard Stelzer and Intransitive Records. There’s also a new 3CD reissue of Eliane Radigue’s Adnos I-III out on Important Records, which is definitely a contender for reissue of the year.

As always, formats posted are the ones I own. Others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.


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Review: Kevin Drumm, “Earrach”

Kevin Drumm’s incredible run of handmade CD-Rs continues this year despite the termination of his Recreational Panick blog. At the end of August, Drumm simultaneously announced the availability of his last few homemade discs and the existence of a new Bandcamp page, which he promptly filled with several digital reissues of limited cassette and CD-R editions from 2011 and 2012. Three new albums followed shortly thereafter, of which the tape-based two-disc Earrach—that’s Gaelic for “spring”—is one. Appropriately, Drumm has filled it with fleshy, muddy, physical music. It’s sloppy, weird, and suggestive; and an absolutely killer recording that squirms and jumps with warped alien life.

The list of equipment used to record Earrach is short and simple: tapes, a Tascasm 414, a Kenwood 1080 receiver, and two handheld cassette recorders. Drumm includes just two other lines of information on the back of the album’s green paper sleeve. The second reads “cassette tape music.” The first, “caisead fusillade,” which marries the Gaelic word for “cassette” to a term associated with firearms and bombardments.

Read the rest of the review on Brainwashed.com
Earrach is available through Kevin Drumm’s Bandcamp page, and physically through Erstwhile Distribution.


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Broadcast 01: September 15th, 2013

from a photograph by Clifton Church - the top of Gasson Hall at Boston College

from a photograph by Clifton Church – the top of Gasson Hall at Boston College

Below is a link to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my September 15th radio show broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM. This link will remain active until September 29th, at which point the audio will disappear and a new show with new music will take its place. I will not be uploading MP3s.

Besides a few technical goofs on my part, everything went smoothly. Finding a way to present some of the longer pieces of music in a two hour slot is one of the challenges I’ll have to think more about, because using short excerpts just wasn’t good enough, especially with recordings like Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones. I’ll either have to plan exactly which segments I want to use in advance (and stick to them, no matter the duration), or I’ll have to select shorter pieces better suited to radio programming. The show will be a little better organized next time.

Links to labels are provided in the playlist.  Any questions or requests, send me an email. Much of this music is still in print and available from the stores, shops, and distributors listed at the bottom of this page.

Thanks for listening.

Laughter: September 15th, 2013 – Hour 1 and Hour 2

  1. Autechre ‎, “Pen Expers” from Confield (2001) on WARP
  2. Helm, “Silencer” from Silencer EP (2013) on PAN
  3. Bruce Gilbert and BAW, “Rest/Reflection” from Diluvial (2013) on TOUCH
  4. David Sylvian, “Manafon” from Manafon (2009) on SAMADHI SOUND
  5. Tod Dockstader, “Water Music” from Dockstader: Quatermass (1992) on STARKLAND
  6. Philippe Lamy, “Une Autre Couche” from Drop Diary (2013) on MYSTERY SEA
  7. Kevin Drumm, “Earrach A (excerpt)” from Earrach (2013) on RECREATIONAL PANICK/BANDCAMP
  8. Bellows “Untitled 6” from Reelin’ (2013) on HOLIDAYS RECORDS
  9. Nmperign/Jason Lescalleet, “The Mystery Disease That Haunts My Town” from Love Me Two Times (2006) on INTRANSITIVE
  10. Howard Stelzer, “Bond Inlets 2 (excerpt)” from Bond Inlets (2008) on INTRANSITIVE
  11. Graham Lambkin, “The Currency of Dreams” from Salmon Run (2007) on KYE
  12. Michael Pisaro “Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones (excerpt)” from Asleep, Street, Pipes, Tones (2011) on GRAVITY WAVE
  13. Keith Rowe/Günter Müller/Taku Sugimoto “Phase Two (excerpt)” from The World Turned Upside Down (2000) on ERSTWHILE


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The Monthly List: August’s Top 10

radio_towers

New music from Keith Rowe and Graham Lambkin, Rephlex, and Bruce Gilbert dominated my August listening habits, along with Recollection GRM’s excellent 2LP release of Luc Ferrari’s Presque Rien. 

I managed to write a review of Making A and both of the Electric Dance Music compilations, plus I have reviews of Helm’s Silencer 12″, COH’s Retro-2038, Kevin Drumm’s Earrach, and a series of Mystery Sea discs on the way. Two of those will  show up at Dusted Magazine if all goes as planned, my first two for that publication. I’ll keep publishing at Brainwashed.com as well, and I hope to get a series of short reviews under way, which will be exclusive to this site.

Last but not least, I’m going to return to WZBC this month with a twice monthly show of electro-acoustic, improvised, and generally experimental music. I’ll be on the air every other Sunday for two hours, starting at 6 o’clock Eastern. You can listen in Boston by tuning into 90.3 FM; or you can listen online at WZBC’s website. Just click the large red play button on the left.

Shows will be archived and available for replay for two weeks after the broadcast, at which time they will disappear forever. No permanent download links. That starts this week, Sunday the 15th. I hope you’ll tune in.

As always, formats posted are the ones I own. Others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.


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Review: Aaron Dilloway/Kevin Drumm, “I Drink Your Skin”

After 12 years and two very small cassette editions on American Tapes and Hanson Records, Dilloway and Drumm’s I Drink Your Skin is available on CD. Dressed up in cheesy horror movie duds and packed tight with overblown noise, Aaron and Kevin each dish out a 25 minute ribbon of goofy loops, obnoxious high-end squeals, and blathering garbage sounds. It is gruff, but invigorating stuff—and more carefully put together than it at first appears. Continue reading

some record shelves


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The Monthly List: October’s Top 11

Coltrane and Ali playing together

photo of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali by Omar Kharem

I put the monthly list together approximately every four weeks to review the records I’ve enjoyed most in that time. I hear at least 50 or 60 new records (EPs and singles included) every month thanks to my job, but this list isn’t restricted to new music. It’s just a way for me to keep track of what I like and listen to the most, new and old. Albums may repeat themselves from month to month and links are provided for anyone interested in checking the music out themselves (check out the “Get Music” links at the bottom of this page too). This month there are 11 records on the list, eight of them new and three of them from last month. Of the eight new titles, three of them are eMego titles. I have a bunch of new Erstwhile and Gravity Wave cued up for listening too, but haven’t gotten around to all of them yet. That’s what I’ve been listening to the most since November started. Formats listed are the ones I own. Releases may be available in other formats.

October’s 11, in no particular order: