Staff Picks - August

Staff Picks - August

Written By:

Dragoș Rusu


September 9, 2018

This is what drew our attention musically during August 2018. What's new, what's good, what's hot or not, what's obscure or under the radar, music wise, if you think that we've missed something or want to send a tip, please get in touch.

2. From Andrea Taeggi to Boobs of DOOM

Bill Thompson - Mouthful of Silence (Burning Harpsichord Records)
Bill Thompson - Mouthful of Silence (Burning Harpsichord Records)

Andrea Taeggi - Zimní Král (SM-LL)
The music on this record was made using a vast array of rare analog machines Andrea had the chance to work on at the Willem-Twee synthesis studio in Holland (built with the iconic Studio di Fonologia RAI as a blueprint). Most of the percussive sounds come from an Analog Computer, which has been rarely used only as a music instrument (its main purpose was flight simulation). In fact, during the Cold War times it was also used as measurement tool by civil engineers and even by the army. The music on this record further explores cyclical, minimal and hypnotic concoctions – a particular investigation focused on unusual rhythms that Andrea had already started on his well-received ‘Mama Matrix Most Mysterious’, released on Type in 2015. Think walls of subfrequencies, snappy rollercoasters of the mind, labyrinths in hyperspace & snakes eating their own tails. Zimní Král means “Winter King” in Czech and was the epithet given to Frederick V Elector Palatine (king of Bohemia), the last of a legacy to actively support alchemy as a means of studying reality, the self and their inter-reflections.

Bill Thompson - Mouthful of Silence (Burning Harpsichord Records)
Mouthful of Silence is a Limited Edition Double CD release featuring solo, single take performances using Moog guitar, live electronics and found objects. Each CD presents a different performance of the same work. Due to the emergent nature of the instrument, however, and the long duration of the piece, they manifest in subtly different ways, reflecting each other while also being pulled toward different realizations. Mouthful of Silence is based on the live performance Live at the Brunswick (2017) written and performed by Bill Thompson and released on Touch Radio [131]. Bill Thompson is a sound artist and composer whose work has been performed extensively throughout the UK and abroad.

Boobs of DOOM - Thor's Womb (Carrie’s Fund)
The Scottish industrial-drone duo Boobs of DOOM released the two track plus one revised radio edition track single Thor’s Womb. The lengthy compositions – which combined come to roughly seventy two minutes (proceeds are being donated to the medical fundraiser – Carries Fund) are best approached while in a darkened room to allow the unhurried, relentless entombing foreboding presence to encase the mind and body.

Julia Kent & Jean D.L. - The Great Lake Swallows (Gizeh Records)
The Great Lake Swallows is a collaboration between Canadian cellist Julia Kent and Belgian guitarist/tape machine manipulator Jean D.L. Recorded in Charleroi, Belgium in 2015 during a video installation with Sandrine Verstraete, the music was created using field recordings, processed guitar and cello and serves as a soundtrack to the video of the same name. The album is an aching, ambient wonderland that ensues beauty at every turn. It was built as a whole and, indeed, should be consumed as a whole. The repetition is hypnotising, a lulling sense of calm entwined in hints of unease that flows seamlessly in and out of sleepy melodies and broken drones. Unfolding over a brief twenty-six minutes, The Great Lake Swallows cannot out-stay its welcome. Everything contained within feels necessary, each movement informing the next, a conversation between two outstanding musicians.

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3. From Naschkatze to Slovenska Televiza

Thabang Tabane - Matjale (Mushroom Half Hour)
Thabang Tabane - Matjale (Mushroom Half Hour)

Naschkatze - Dilber EP (Geschenk Recordings)
Geschenk is an independent record label from the Republic of Azerbaijan, focused on articulating scarcely promoted / hard-to-classify / rare-to-find music from the region of Caucasus - the heritage artifacts and the actual production alike. Regardless of its home country Azerbaijan, Geschenk is aiming to coin itself as a pan-Causasian record label, but not limited to general frontiers of the region. The Naschkatze duo consists of Farhad Farzali and Ali Hasanov, both pursuing their careers in visual arts along with experiments in music, design, film, video, and sound. They have worked separately on a number of music/sound projects (Promoted Garlic rock band, Frida song cycle, Arsenium live music performance with electronic multimedia, numerous tracks and remixes under the name Azeriff, sound design for Go to the Light multimedia performance, DJ sets in clubs of Baku, Moscow, Kiev) before coming to the idea to produce music jointly. Naschkatze goes beyond strict genre and style definitions and boundaries; the producers' duo constantly works on expanding and developing their sound resources through research of the musical heritage of different cultures of the world, with a special source of inspiration definitely coming from the Caucasus. A number of respected artists such as Ulrich Schnauss (UK), Johan Troch (BE), Nico Niquo (AU) supported the album with their remixes on the key track Dilber.

Rimarimba - The Rimarimba Collection (Freedom To Spend)
Rimarimba was the project of Robert Cox, based in Felixstowe, on the seaside in Suffolk, UK. Rimarimba was not Cox’s first entry into the world of recorded music, but was the first time he explored, most perceptively, the parameters of a particular musical mode: one where minimalism is removed from its “high-art” mantle, Cox inveigling its practices in amongst the do-it-yourself creativity of a burgeoning and beguiling underground, letting the music breathe – and most importantly, letting it play, gifting it with imagination.

Slovenska Televiza - Documento (Peripheral Minimal)
Slovenska Televiza is a minimal electronics duo based in Valladolid and Barcelona. Wladyslaw Trejo and Lunademayo stays close to coldwave then expands to avant-garde and experimental approaches, reaching a proposal as strange as it is fascinating. They produce music that is hard to define with simple comparisons or oblique generalizations, but perhaps an amalgam of Minimal Synth and Coldwave would best express their 'sound'. With that in mind, there is also a melancholy underpinning this release, perhaps it's the haunting vocals of Lunademayo, or the heavily reverb laden soundscapes of Wladyslaw Trejo's analogue synths.

Thabang Tabane - Matjale (Mushroom Half Hour)
Son of the late, legendary Dr Philip Nchipi Tabane and heir to the malombo sound that he originated and pioneered in the early 1960s, Thabang has been touring the world, playing with his father’s band and other South African luminaries since he was 8 years old. Emerging into his own with his debut solo album, Matjale, this energetic percussionist carves a driving, joyous and worldly version of the malombo genre that takes in his continental travels. The album brims with ambition and an appetite for life. Employing brisk tempos, nimble basslines and intersecting polyrhythms, Thabang crafts songs cognisant of the hardships of life, but chooses to deliver them with an irrepressible optimism. Expanding the parameters of what is essentially an artform patented by his father, Thabang and his cohorts seem unburdened by pedigree, infusing the sound with a modern sensibility. His reverence for the vibrational resonance and drive of the bass guitar, not to mention his explosive bursts of hand drumming, gives the album an undeniable, cathartic exuberance.

VA - The Emerald EP (Misbits Recordings)
This is Misbits Recordings’ first chapter from its trip into the experimental territories of electronic music, nothing more than a diary filled with sound fragments that reveal a soundtrack for a surreal story. The Emerald EP is a journey lived by a time traveler through eerie ambient scapes, started from the vintage sci-fi frenzy from the late 50s’ immortalized on side A with Romeo Poirier’s dysfunctional robotic bleeps, continued with Boris Hegenbart & David Moss’ distorted broadcast tape and ended in Christopher James Chaplin’s eerie atmosphere created by an analog choir. Side B hosts a few locked grooves signed by Roméo Poirier, Boris Hegenbart & David Moss aka duo-mono-lith, Shōen 荘園, Smooth Operators, as well loops sampled from Maria Balabas & Punct8 (Tavi Scurtu).

4. From Umeko Ando to Unearth Noise

The Void of Expansion - Ashes and Blues (Substrata)
The Void of Expansion - Ashes and Blues (Substrata)

The Nest - 1977 (motmot)
1977 is a selection of tracks "The Nest" have recorded in September 2016 in a gothic church in Berlin Friedrichshain where they setup their equipment to record new material in this special acoustic environment. Comprising of Christoph Clöser (saxophone, synthesizer), Tycho Schottelius (turntable, synthesizer, mix), Thomas Mahmoud (field beats, effects & vocals) and Gerald Mandl (bass, effects). The Nest have created their own blend of Electro-acoustic, Jazz, Noise and Ambient.

The Void of Expansion - Ashes and Blues (Substrata)
“Ashes and Blues” is the first studio album by The Void of Expansion: The Swedish drummer Tomas Järmyr (Zu, Motorpsycho, Yodok, Yodok III) and the legendary Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries (VidnaObmana, Fear Falls Burning, Yodok III, Kodian Trio). With an introspective, enigmatic, yet equally feral and untamed sound, the work of The Void of Expansion moves within the limits of genres such as shoegaze, drone, free jazz and modern sound experimentation. The musical exercise of The Void of Expansion in “Ashes and Blues” is like that of a craftsman working his art in precise detail, while at once creating the impression of free motion through sinuous paths.

Thomas Ankersmit - Homage To Dick Raaijmakers (Shelter Press)
Thomas Ankersmit’s new album for Shelter Press “Homage to Dick Raaijmakers” is an all-analogue electronic music composition inspired by legendary Dutch composer / electronic and tape music pioneer / multimedia artist Dick Raaijmakers (1930-2013). The work takes inspiration from Raaijmakers’ music from the 1960s, his texts on sound composition like “Cahier M”, and notes on his own music. On this recording Ankersmit plays Serge Modular feedback and sine/pulse/random generators, contact mic, and tape speed variation. Mirroring some of Raaijmakers’ work, Ankersmit plays his Serge synthesizer as a kind of weather system. He references storms, thunder, crashing and falling objects, and distant radio transmissions in his electronic sounds, as well as dragging a contact mic across his equipment. Despite the abstract nature of the material, a sense of loss or mourning sometimes emerges from the music. The music focuses on the sounds of raw electricity through creatively abused electronics, composing with analogue micro-sounds, and the creation of three-dimensional sound fields. “Homage to Dick Raaijmakers” was commissioned by Sonic Acts and was premiered live at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in February 2016 and released in September 2018 on Shelter Press on LP / CD / DL.

Umeko Ando – Ihunke (Pingipung Records)
Umeko Ando (1932-2004) was a folk singer from Japan. She was a representative of the Ainu culture on the Hokkaido Island in the north of Japan. “Ihunke” was her first album which was recorded with the Ainu musician and dub producer Oki Kano in 2000. It was released on CD in Japan only and is finally available on vinyl (2LP + linernotes, DLC included). The 16 Ainu songs on “Ihunke” are delicate, natural gems. They are built on Oki Kano’s Tonkori patterns (a 5-string harp), over which Umeko Ando develops her repetitive, mantric vocals, often in a call-response manner. Oki Kano is one of very few professional Tonkori players who performs worldwide with his Oki Dub Ainu Band. The songs possess a mystical energy – when crows call accurately with Ando’s brittle voice in the first song, it seems like natural powers join in with her music. Her voice sounds like animals of the sky and the forest. Historical background: Only recently (in 2008) have the Ainu officially been acknowledged as indigenous people who are culturally independent from Japan. This record is an example of how their music has been passed on through generations in the underground Ainu communities while it was oppressed by the Japanese hegemony.

Unearth Noise / Dreamspeak - And The Light Beams Will Guide The Way (Lullabies For Insomniacs)
"And The Light Beams will Guide The way" arrives as a double dose with one disc from Unearth Noise and the other from his collaboration with vocalist Myrh, together they are Dreamspeak. Unearth Noise's solo works delve into familiar territory, at times reminiscent of his debut on the label "Prayer and Resonance" however his signature, dense and mesmerizing sound world develops on this second outing, harnessing a frenetic energy that dissolves like devil dust. Dreamspeak create a transcendental experience that beguiles listeners – one that is equally as haunting as it is enchanting.

About the Author

Dragoș Rusu

Co-founder and editor in chief of The Attic and allround music adventurer.


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