Out of all the more academic experimental composers that I love, I often find it the hardest to talk about Eliane Radigue’s music. Works like hers are deceptively simple yet so gutturally affecting that it’s often hard to put into words why her music is incredibly powerful. Sure, there’s something to be said about the psychoacoustic nature of her sounds and the Buddhist philosophy that drives much of her composition, but ultimately, the spare beauty of her work and use of time is what’s truly remarkable. Radigue is fascinated with the worlds of sonority that each one of her drones create; as a result, her compositions are often monolithic in scope. There’s no way to truly experience her work, then, without completely submitting to the composition at hand. It’s only through experiencing and losing yourself in her compositions that one can even begin to grasp the hidden complexity and beauty of Radigue’s sounds.
Adnos is one of Radigue’s most epic compositions in scale. The recently reissued record features three discs that total more than three and a half hours collectively. That might seem intense to some listeners, but it’s absolutely worth it. Radigue’s work can seem simple at first, but each one of these pieces manages to go a number of places without feeling like they’ve actually gone anywhere at all. This constant ebb and flow of movement within stasis is unbelievably moving, so much so, that when Radigue shifts something just minutely within a slightly faster period of time, it feels like the grandest crescendo imaginable. At this point, I never want to fully understand how Radigue’s work unfurls; I just want to revel in the beautiful and subtly ever-changing drones she produces.
Adnos is available now via Important Records. You can watch a trailer with an excerpt of the record above.
Chin Music, the debut EP from 27-year-old Long Island-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Andy Koufax is aptly titled because that’s where it hits you — right in that pretty little dimple of yours. And as you lie face down beside the plate, which up until a few seconds ago you so arrogantly and misguidedly considered your own, the starting pitcher is summarily ejected for his wanton disregard for human life, but he at least can hold his head high, knowing that the purposeful statement he intended to make has indeed left its mark, if only on one fractured jawbone.
An exercise in exorcism (of both personal demons and artistic inhibitions), Chin Music eschews giving a fuck about subtlety and sensitivity in favor of just plain going for it. Hence, we get Marvin Gaye and John Coltrane namedrops (on “Luna Melt”), extended Street Fighter metaphors about the protagonist’s love life (on “Unbelievable”), and a requiem named after the performer himself (“Andy”) followed by a stadium anthem cheerfully named for a local roller rink (“United Skates”), but written with all the lingering despair and succinct brutality of a Herzog film.
All of this, plus Koufax’s lush Logic-based production comprised of multilayered MIDI arrangements and equally ambitious instrumentation, is glued together by the mixing and mastering of maestro Willie Green, who is perhaps best known to us New Yorkers as go-to engineer for billy woods and executive producer of his magnum opus History Will Absolve Me. Also a talented drummer and beatmaker in his own right, Green, it would appear, was just the man to bring out the fullness and detail of these complex compositions, even down to their most minor minutiae.
Last week, Hall-of-Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax’s former team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, were rather ungracefully eliminated in Game 6 of the NLCS, a series in which some retaliatory chin music probably would’ve been warranted considering that Cardinals pitcher Joe Kelly fractured Dodgers star shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s rib with an inside fastball in Game 1.
That ship has sailed, but Tiny Mix Tapes is nonetheless delighted to premiere Andy Koufax’s own brand of Chin Music just in time for the Fall Classic. Batter up, bitches.
Like many other Holodeck releases, SSLEEPERHOLD’s Ruleth LP needs roughly three measures of playback to begin conjuring mental images of the approaching era when robots have taken over our society and routinely force us with gleaming chest panels and syringe-like appendages to carry out all the tasks we once gave them before the robopocalypse. José Cota’s solo sessions stretch out as swathes of engorged synth tones clashing with oscillator noise and cassette collage, all laid out atop a drum machine stomp, with just enough reverb on the bass drum to find that early industrial sweet spot on your cortex grid and prod it incessantly.
If you were expecting some kind of resolution to your stroll through the Conquered Lands after the robot uprising, you’re not gonna get it. Maybe you’ll find an undented can of Progresso among the ruins of a nice single-family home caught less than 40 kilometers from the blast radius, but it’ll be a small victory compared to the miles of post-urban ashscape you have left. As Cota’s tracks grind on, synth melodies manifest and pile together into bleeping counterpoint structures reminiscent of Wendy Carlos’s sorcery — a connection fully soldered into its titanium chassis by track titles like “Timeghosts” and “Dreamwaves.” But SSLEEPERHOLD’s grim restraint, the stoic pace at which new elements hit the mix, allows us enough time to revel in each analog drum or synth tone, with the kind of unbridled admiration that our electronic overlords can only dream/calculate of glimpsing in our fleshy little eyeballs. (“Will they ever love us, as we once loved them?” the RoboMonarch wonders aloud, gazing out upon the charred husk of a public garden.)
Find some comfort in the fact that even in the dystopian absence of telecommunications networks, intercontinental fiber-optics tunnels, and any reliable correspondence with other groups of human beings outside of your eyeshot, you still might one day happen upon a basement chamber in which SSLEEPERHOLD has plugged a 909 and a Walkman into an ethanol-powered generator and is still pounding out the jams for a semicircle of exhausted rebel commandos at a volume low enough to not bleed through to the surface.
• Holodeck Records: http://holodeckrecords.com
No, silly, not the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio or the Slavonic and East European Review; Seers are a nihilistic noise band. Ushered in by a ruthlessly elongated school bell, Pete Swanson and Gerritt Wittmer play with big slabs of noise (and the occasional hint of redemption) across these 12 minutes. Yet, this is merely an introduction to what is to become a collaborative beast in December on Wittmer’s Misanthropic Agenda. As per usual, it will be mastered by the most suspiciously prolific man in the prolific field of prolific electroacoustic composition: Giuseppe Ielasi.
• Misanthropic Agenda: http://www.misanthropicagenda.com
“I don’t want to talk about the flowers on my dress, no,” she said while whisking her hair in whatever way.
He just had to hold her hand and muttered, “It’s not the print I’m interested in, you know?” He shakes his head, eyes fixed on the floor, and thinks about approval. “Think of all the people.”
“Couldn’t you do better?” she asks and may have looked at him, “You could do better.”
“What are you even talking about, am I not even…” he hesitates honing in the heat of this scene, “Better… better… let’s stop eating meat.”
Growing her hair gray, maybe, she turned, not meeting his eye level, and says, “Let’s play divorce for 15 more minutes and get some beer, okay?”
“Okay. New sheriff back in town?” he asks without cracking a smile.
She scrunches her noise and eyes, starts to cry; it’s borderline convincing as she yells, “It’s usually your fault, but —” He bursts into laughter, as she gets up, washes her face, puts on her pants, and says, “Let’s get the cheap shit, I’m not particular for taste.”
• Giant Claw: http://giantclaw.bandcamp.com