Compound Form [excerpt]
I once saw Coppice (duo consisting of Joseph Kramer and Noé Cuéllar) perform a great piece utilizing a pump organ and analog electronics at the typically laptop-heavy Spark Music Festival in Minneapolis. The striking parts about Coppice’s set was how they didn’t make their electronics the focal point of the piece or transform the pump organ into something alien, but instead naturally expanded the acoustics of their instruments.
On Compound Form, the duo continues to explore the possibilities of expanding acoustic sonorities through the use of subtly placed electronics, and the results are stunning. The sole 30-minute composition that makes up this release ebbs and flows through rich drones, fractured melodies, and airy moments of near-negative space. Throughout, it’s often hard to tell when the natural sounds of the duo’s prepared pump organ end and when the electronic alterations begin. Despite this seemingly limited palette of sounds, Coppice excel at creating a surprisingly diverse tapestry out of their tools of choice in a manner that resembles the instrumental expansion of Pauline Oliveros’ accordion works and Jason Kahn’s percussion recordings.
Compound Form is out now via Triple Bath. You can listen to an excerpt of the album below:
Matthew De Gennaro
“The Plumb Line / Bells for Mompou”
Fiddle Predicates: moans out, lulls, floats through swathes of itself, keens as if in the throes of some memorial ritual, sings, speaks, above all yearns, lifts into realms undiscovered, sparks.
Organ Predicates: meets the body, drifts behind motion, lays it on, underscores, girds, imperceptibly burgeons, deserves no small love for holding it down so deeply, persists.
Inevitable Adjectives: rural, earthy, carnatic, hypnotic, simple, eternal.
Key Overarching Verbiage: drones, breathes.
Multi-instrumentalist/composer Matthew De Gennaro has built a sweet catalog of electro-acoustic solo works over the last decade[-plus], and collaborated with Dunedin champion Alastair Galbraith in a number of projects involving very long wires. His next solo LP Chuang Tzu Motherfucker contains “The Plumb Line / Bells for Mompou” and seven other sessions possessed of equal or similar austerities. Some feature De Gennaro’s acoustic guitar work. One features fellow omni-droner Scott Tuma. All are worth sitting on the edge of, leaning over, and falling into. If allowed, this music can persist past its literal duration and take up indefinite residence in a side chamber of your mind.
Release Date Intel: SoundCloud says August; Discogs says September 17; the Soft Abuse site reports an October pre-order (all of these are almost, like, now [or then]). I’m trusting in the pre-order date from the label itself and making arrangements to cop this appropriately autumn object and to begin purveying the zones it offers by way of turntable.
• Matthew De Gennaro: http://softabuse.com/artists.php?a=Matthew%20De%20Gennaro
• Soft Abuse: http://www.softabuse.com/home.html
Just as any other meme, music drifts in a variety of ways. Since September hit, I’ve been back and forth to Midwest America and New York. In the process, I’ve heard a deep change in music genres: mall metal to cute-acoustic, alt-grunge rock to K-Pop, country to club. So, it’s interesting to be presented with Born Gold (a.k.a. Cecil Frena)’s latest track “Braille,” a solid mixture of some of these different genres. There’s a runnin’ beat getting people moving, evoking that same type of kitsch melody of K-Pop, sung by a sweet Epitaph-style singer, yet appealing to that same sort of fun country vibe. And it’s also totally remixable. Remix culture is so enormous. “Braille” could probably be remixed in every which way, as it’s well deserved.
Born Gold’s newest album I Am An Exit is dropping HEAT on October 8 through Art Control (US) and Hovercraft (Canada). Stream his newest track “Braille” below:
• Born Gold: http://borngold.us
Released with a fresh batch of cassettes on Mexican label Department Tapes is new music from Portuguese artist JCCG, also known as Mediafired, The Exhalers, Sofa Pits, and João Costa Gonçalves. The JCCG project focuses on instrumental guitar work and the transcendental planes that can be reached with just a reverb pedal and a touch of scuzz. “Arrastrado,” which supposedly translates into “dragged,” indeed drags along, but with its chin up high and kicks pumped tight. And though Eje is music for stoners and procrastinators, try not to be a lazy-ass, because there are only 30 copies of this limited release.
• Department Tapes: http://departmenttapes.tumblr.com
In concert, Nick Ciontea’s projections run across the four figures of CAVE as a network of neon veins and tributaries that — from farther back in the room — blossom into a tiered spectrogram hanging above the stage on all sides. Reactive analog video synthesis and vector mapping align the band’s recursive psych-/kraut-/rawwwwk-grooves to these jittering visuals, resulting in set-long trajectories of synchronized A/V evolution. As the Chicago-based shredders interlock elemental guitar-bass-organ-drum building blocks in workouts of no-frills repetition, Ciontea (under his Brownshoesonly moniker) provides layers of complexity and abstraction to both complement and complicate the band’s instrumental discipline.
On your screen here, Ciontea’s video for “Shikaakwa” sets its green lines against a vacuum devoid of all the concentrating sweaty onstage dudes, amps, swaying sweaty crowd-humans, keyboard stands, drums, and monitors attendant to the concert experience. Watch vector fingers skittering over vector strings and keys; vector heads of band members evolving out of the horizon and hanging out to spin for a minute; vector drums bouncing under the weight of vector pounding; the whole thing splintering into pure blip-fuzz during deeper moments: all rhythmically dialed to that sweet 7/8 stomp. When the flute hits, accept that you’re locked in and must now consider the possibility of never closing the YouTube tab.
Find “Shikaakwa” in the middle of Side B on CAVE’s forthcoming album Threace, due October 15 on Drag City. Find CAVE in all their glory on a stage before your eyes at one or more of their 40-plus upcoming tour dates.
“Voices of Lists”
One thing that Imbogodom’s Daniel Beban and Alexander Tucker have excelled at since 2010’s The Metallic Year is their branded cultivation of a particular spookiness. On The Metallic Year, the duo managed to evoke both the eerie simplicity of Renaissance music and the warped textures of electroacoustic drone in a set of nine pieces that established a definite sound for the project. Over time, Beban and Tucker’s work has grown more produced and song-oriented, but the beautifully creepy vibe of their debut record has never faded.
Instead, as evidenced by “Voices of Lists” from Imbogodom’s forthcoming Metafather, their atmospherics are now being applied in fascinating new ways. “Voices of Lists” is an acoustic-based song that wouldn’t sound out of place on one of Tucker’s solo albums, but it’s permeated here with the duo’s signature electronics that subtly overtake the song, transforming the last minute and a half into a beautiful wash of backwards vocals, lush delay, and acoustic explorations. It’s a great example of how Beban and Tucker are sonically utilizing Imbogodom’s signifiers in new ways while maintaining the aura of timeless spookiness that’s made their past works so haunting.
Metafather, the final installment in the BBC Bush House trilogy, is out October 15 via Thrill Jockey. You can stream “Voices of Lists” below: