The members of the world of “noise” have been largely veering away from the screeching blasts of feedback and white noise and have instead shifted their focus to crafting pieces that, while not exactly “harsh,” are still physically unsettling and creepy. This occurred to me when I saw a recent performance by Aaron Dilloway on an excellent bill that also featured John Wiese and Jason Lescalleet. All three of these dudes are capable of making some of the most brutal shit imaginable. (I remember listening to Wiese’s Magical Crystal Blah Vol.3 three times in a row during college, making myself viscerally ill in the best way possible due to all of the record’s harsh frequencies.) However, at this show, Dilloway, Wiese, and Lescalleet focused more on creating works that were deeply eerie, always threatening to explode but never quite doing so — prime examples of what Nate Young described as “the spook.”
With this in mind, Dilloway’s Opened Door may be one of the most thorough examples of this aesthetic to date. The two sides of Opened Door never really shock with volume or frequency, but a constant threat remains. With these two pieces, Dilloway weaves a murky, often clangorous tapestry out of his signature setup. At times, the B-side has a beautiful fractured quality to it, like one of Nate Young’s Regression experiments without the synth sheen; the A-side even has a beat. But despite the musical nature of this material, Opened Door is still wonderfully haunting and full of dread. Dilloway and his cohorts seem to have figured out that noise doesn’t always have to work with the same signifiers in order to affect a listener viscerally, and it’s fascinating to witness.
Opened Door is out now via Chondritic Sound. You can stream the album in its entirety below:
The good folks at Miasmah are set to release yet another incredibly moody, exquisitely detailed album, this time by Kaboom Karavan. It’s called Hokus Fokus and sees Bram Bosteel amplifying the surreal and filmic qualities of his music, evoking both terror and immersion with structural suspense and textural versatility. The album sounds aggressively modern, with its interplay between abstraction and narrative, but it also sounds anachronistic at times, with the creepy Kreng-like atmospherics heading straight into a pre-WWII smokehouse of clunky Tom Waits rhythms and sinister vaudeville theatrics.
“Kolik” is the opening track, and its video, despite its minimalism, makes clear just how visual the album can be. In fact, Bosteel — who composes for film, theater, and dance — originally created the song for a film by director Liesbeth Marit, titled Yuri and the frustration of our ponies; the video here is sourced directly from the movie. Check it out below, in all its understated beauty and unsettling creepiness:
Miasmah will be releasing Kaboom Karavan’s Hokus Fokus, as well as a vinyl version of his debut album, Short Walk With Olaf, on Friday. Go here for more info.
“둘 중에 하나 (Runaway)”
Korean pop confectionery KARA just dropped their brand new Japanese album Fantastic Girls, but the real gem of their career’s past week is mother-tongue hit “둘 중에 하나 (Runaway).” Formed by DSP Media in 2007, the girl-group quintet reflect the wisdom of their years with this sophisticated R&B ballad. When it comes to the Gaon charts, only the Brown Eyed Girls — a clear influence here — have such a deft grip on pop this mature and self-assured.
“둘 중에 하나 (Runaway)” is a breezy delight, perfect for those late-summer nights. The single boasts K-Pop rarities aplenty: an expert live band smoothed by delicate studio glaze, lithe melodies and harmonies in no hurry to convince you of their salability, a gratuitous rap so apt it fails to register as gratuitous rap, and — perhaps rarest in Korea (or pop anywhere) — a climactic modulation capable of affecting the desired frisson. Above is the superior full-length version, but you can watch the video’s hugely popular two-minute reduction if you’d like to get your K-drama on.
Also, KARA girls are about to make it ¥en across the Asia-Pacific. Visit their website for more info.
Surprise, surprise: Danny Brown continues to make headlines. In anticipation for his new album OLD, the Detroit MC just dropped a video for a new track called “ODB.” Produced by Paul White (who was responsible for a few cuts off XXX, including a This Heat-sampling track), “ODB” is a relatively easygoing number from an album that’s said to feature his least and most accessible work, amped up as usual by Danny Brown’s characteristic, Muppet-y bite. Other producers on OLD include Rustie, A-Trak, and SKYWLKR, but is it wrong of me to hope for something by Nick Speed again too? The man produced this weird fucking jam, and my life has been better ever since.
OLD is out September 30 on Fool’s Gold, and in case you haven’t heard, it features guest spots by the likes of A$AP Rocky, Schoolboy Q, Freddie Gibbs, Purity Ring, and Charli XCX. STARS STARS STARS STARS STARS STARS.
Lock the doors, break out the candelabrum, build a small tower out of Kleenex boxes but position each box’s open paper-dispensing mouth to face outward so you can reach out from any angle and conveniently procure something soft with which to dry your tears: we have new music from Tim Hecker. Since Ravedeath 1972, 2011’s triumph in holy drone abstraction, Hecker cooked up a set of time-bending improv sessions with Daniel Lopatin on Instrumental Tourist, performed a ludicrous number of high-profile festival-type gigs, and cemented his position as an experimental heavyweight capable of crossing over into the broader public consciousness to zone out even the most casual of zoners. His new full-length LP, Virgins, arrives on October 14. If there’s any justice in this universe, cumulonimbi will appear on horizon while we’re extinguishing the candle in silence after our first full listen and then float overhead to unleash a deluge all over our faces and upper bodies right when we leave our homes so no one can tell we’ve all been weeping.
But hit play on “Virginal II” down below, and you’ll notice something that could surprise you: there’s a lot going on here. If Ravedeath cast Hecker as an isolated, eminently solo artist, poring over his computer and/or an Icelandic church organ in pursuit of a static-infused vision of Pärt’s tintinnabulation, “Virginal II” falls closer to the busy minimalism of Reich’s or Glass’s large-ensemble works. Hear percussive piano loops overlap, phase out of time, and pound their way through the haze as Hecker’s gloriously spatialized droning voices, woodwind overdubs, and low-end pads creep into the proceedings. By the time the stuttering synth leads take over near the four-minute mark, Hecker has filled his mix with an expansive palette of tones both acoustic and electronic, resulting in a piece closer in atmosphere and arrangement to previous efforts like An Imaginary Country, though significantly broader in scope.
A limited-edition vinyl press of Virgins will go up for pre-order soon (but when??) from Paper Bag Records, while Kranky will handle the wide release and distribution.