The waveform viewer on SoundCloud doesn’t lie. It doesn’t tell you too much at a glance, but it can spoil the structure and the dynamics of a song in the few seconds between when the page loads and you click play. The truncated shadow display thing below the center line lies right to your face, though. It only shows a fraction of the wave’s lower half, a hint at the full breadth of what we hear. A long plateau of amplitude, a slow ascent, evenly distanced swells that inch the wave up into near peaking territory for five minutes and then back down when the clip clips off — this waveform promises some Barebones Minimalist Drone, that real La Monte Young worship, the pure, even tones to which one leans back and fades straight out.
Earlier this year, Kevin Doria (formerly of Growing [miss ya]) dusted off his Total Life moniker for Bender/Drifter, a pair of solo sessions that each fused multiple blasted oscillator wails into a wall of pulsing overtones. This excerpt from “Fader,” Total Life’s side of an upcoming split LP with Deceh on Important Records, finds Doria paring the drone down to one voice and focusing even more intently on tonal sculpting and layering. Tiny knob adjustments on his gear of choice accentuate the details of his oscillating sound source. As the track stretches on, numerous discernible waves and delay trails creep in to fill the stereo spread. It hypnotizes.
Keep your eyes on Important Records for ordering info on the Total Life/Deceh split LP. This applies to everything, but especially here: make the most of your purchase and turn the volume all the way up.
• Important Records: http://importantrecords.com
Keith Fullerton Whitman
“Automatic Drums with Melody”
Last we heard from Keith Fullerton Whitman (known to Google as Keith Fullertom Whitman), he posted 12 hours of his Greatest Hits for free on SoundCloud, a massive proto-vaporwave/-eccojam experiment to combat insomnia through “time-/gain-based processes.” However, his latest release, a split 12-inch with Belgian artist Floris Vanhoof, sees KFW wielding an analog synth for a more accessible, beat-driven approach.
Electronic dance isn’t completely unprecedented for KFW, but the sort of wide-eyed, linear exploration on “Automatic Drums with Melody” has a more compressed range that’s not exactly suited for the dance floor, a reflection of both his gear and his minimalist approach to this split. And, in contrast to some of his more aggressive or subdued pieces, it’s also tonally light-hearted, dealing less with timbre and more with rhythm. It’s not until toward the end of the track when noise slowly creeps into the mix, overtaking the rhythmic trajectory and pushing the track into a less temporally-dependent field. The moment is brief, and is best thought of as a way to extinguish the pulse rather than enact its own narrative purpose, but it’s an area in which KFW is clearly comfortable with his synthetic experiments.
You can hear the rest of KFW’s split with Floris Vanhoof on June 1, courtesy of Shelter Press (one of C Monster’s favorite labels!), a Paris-/Brussels-based publishing company founded in 2011 by graphic designer/publisher Bartolomé Sanson and TMT favorite Felicia Atkinson/Je Suis Le Petit Chevalier. The 38-minute, 5-track split will be pressed onto 180g vinyl with silkscreened artwork by Hannah Giese, in an edition of 400. Get on it.
Outer Limits Recordings
A few days ago, I get on Facebook for, like, the millionth time (fuck off) and see our girl soaked in SPF420 is geeking out about the new Outer Limits Recordings’ “Singles, Demos and Rarities 2007-2010” on Weird World Record Co. So, okay, I scoped it out too, and it’s a double LP for pre-order ASAP. WHAAAT??? Clicked on the first track and was set free by “Liberty.” My dick moved like five times during the song. I had no idea what was happening to my body. Well, my body is still a little fucked up, and I’ve no idea why, but to be honest, it doesn’t matter until I can’t hear the Outer Limits Recordings revival in my living room. Bigger question [than not even asking a question to begin with]: Is this just the beginning of a revamp, or is this the most pleasing swan song this side of the animal kingdom? What dimension am I in that this 2xLP exists anyhow? Where am I being transported to? Why is my face attached to my right butt cheek? Ughhh, it’s going to be so hard to walk and have sit-down conversations from now on.
• Weird World Record Co: http://www.weirdworldrecordco.com
Enter a post-apocalyptic world where shred is the only currency. Gangs of 15-27 year-olds in tattered black tees prowl the ruins seeking entertainment, and only displays of two-hand tapping or intricate 32nd-note riffery can appease them. Colin Marston, Neo New York’s chancellor of shred (which puts him on the shortlist for the chancellorship worldwide), stands atop a fortress cobbled together from fretboard wood and scrap metal in the center of Queens, gazing upon all that is his. His acolytes mosh reverently beneath him, awaiting the next event on the nightly performance schedule. 9PM: Dysrhythmia. 10PM: Gorguts. 11PM: Mick Barr solo set. Midnight: the Krallice ritual. At 2AM, Weasel Walter emerges from the fortress and the marauders Behold… The Arctopus. The mob eventually disperses, but Marston can’t stop. His tremolo picking alone maintains this society. What was once the Warr Guitar has become the War Guitar. He who was once the Mastering Engineer has become the Master.
As if Colin Marston’s four bands and production duties at his Menegroth The Thousand Caves studio can’t keep him busy enough, he casually dropped the second album by his solo project Indricothere just recently. II finds Marston cramming his blackened prog-/death-/omni-metal compositions with interlocking riffs and programmed drums fast enough to follow his light-speed leads. Stream it on Bandcamp, and keep an eye out for the vinyl edition on Gilead Media sometime soon.
• Gilead Media: http://www.gileadmedia.net
Sunday School 2
So, that TREE mixtape I’ve been hyping up finally dropped today. How is it? I tried to get Mr P to let me declare an official one-week moratorium on rap music. As in, no more hip-hop in the Chocolate Grinder section until May 22. He won’t let me do it, OFFICIALLY. That being said, I don’t care if Detox drops tomorrow — I won’t be listening to anything but Sunday School II for at least a week. A formal review will follow this informal moratorium.
Baby Birds Don't Drink Milk
The first single from the upcoming Baby Birds Don’t Drink Milk full-length is called “Saturday,” but I’ve been enjoying it as a kind of after-work-on-Tuesday anthem. After the high-toned swells of their incredible 2008 album, Eek Shriek Beak, the band slowly slid into the lower end of towering noise with a handful of cassette releases and their second full-length effort, Skeletor & Me, released on Brooklyn’s Fire Talk in 2010. With “Saturday” from their upcoming second effort on Fire Talk, BBDDM has settled on a kind of middle ground between the substantially different sounds of those first two albums. The guitar and drum structure of their earlier material lie the groundwork from which the towering wall of effected noise from recent material can swell, and yet the space between the two different BBDDM eras is seamless. Only BBDDM can make such grandiose noise sound so calm and beautiful. It’s the sound of years and years of experience and experimentation in house-show basements throughout America reaching an answer.
Listen to “Saturday” below and look for the upcoming full-length, Think Tone, on Fire Talk on July 9 — although, you may want to get on top of the pre-order now, because only 300 copies are being released between vinyl and cassette.