Mind Over Mirrors
Check Your Swing
This year marks the 170th anniversary of the harmonium, a wind- and reed-powered keyboard instrument that has joined the bagpipes as premier drone-based musical instruments of the modern age. Now, over a century and a half later, we can mark the instrument’s birthday with a new wind- and reed-powered record, Check Your Swing, courtesy of drone artist and master harmoniumist Jaime Fennelly as Mind Over Mirrors. Using both an old instrument and some other not-so-old ones, Fennelly (Peeesseye, Phantom Limb) creates a lush, swirling listening experience that fittingly evokes the characteristics of the dense, green wilderness cover art: constant and monotone, yet full of ornate detail and variety.
Pre-oder it from Hands In The Dark here, and listen to the entirety of Check Your Swing here:
“Your Cast Will Tire”
Quarter Turns Over a Living Line is the title of electronic duo Raime’s upcoming full-length on Blackest Ever Black. The album drops as a 2xLP (and CD, but I’ve been told that is “uncool” and that most of you guys don’t buy those) on November 19. “Your Cast Will Tire” is our first exposure, and it starts with some spindly string-scraping on a guitar that’s eventually overtaken with a beat that sounds like it came from one of Andy Stott’s 2011 EPs. The strings create an unsettling drone in the treble range, while the heavy weight of the consistent knocking in the lower register drags you to the bottom of some murky lake. Halloween was last week, but for those of you still holding a bag of candy, Raime’s got some negative creep for you.
• Blackest Ever Black: http://blackesteverblack.blogspot.com
Kyle Bobby Dunn
“In Praise of Tears”
During the recording sessions of what may well prove to be the most impassive album of 2012, ambient composer Kyle Bobby Dunn crafted five fresh formations on his 1968 Jazzmaster at L’auberge de Belleville, Canada. Each piece was assembled with very little processing and the desire to propel the frontiers of what elongated torment might embody sonically.
The result is an arresting resuscitation of the sullen ambient aesthetic this sagacious composer has become so renowned for — a selection of calm, peaceful, and melancholic works that brood and dilate perfectly under the precise title of his latest record. In Miserum Stercus, or “Most Miserable Dung,” is said to embody the feeling of being more miserable than thou, a state one can only hope the artist does not truly find himself in, for these are some of the most seductive ambient compositions of the year.
Have a listen to “In Praise of Tears” in preparation for Kyle Bobby Dunn’s second release of 2012, which is out on November 27 through Komino.
LA Vampires and Maria Minerva
Like behind-the-scenes footage for some French New Wave-era film, the video for “Seasons Change” from the Not Not Fun collaboration between LA Vampires and Maria Minerva manages to take mundane, daily activities and make them look cool. Scenes rotate between black-and-white and psychedelic color schemes as Amanda Brown (LA Vampires) and Maria Minerva (who earlier this year released the fantastic Will Happiness Find Me?) make their way between empty apartment hallways and sunny Los Angeles streets. But the detuned piano loop, minor keys, and cloudy vocals give what could be a fan-submitted YouTube video to Len’s “If You Steal My Sunshine” that disconcerting quality of which only weirdos like LA Vampires and Maria Minerva are capable.
Watch the video for “Seasons Change” above and buy the LP collaboration, The Integration, from Not Not Fun. It’s a pretty safe bet: none of the LA Vampires collaborations have disappointed yet, and the woman founded Not Not Fun and 100% silk, for god’s sake.
• Not Not Fun: http://www.notnotfun.com
Lust for Youth
In this age of latter-day post-punk, what must a new track have in order to stand out? The genre’s forefathers got so much right from the start, meanwhile making so much obsolete in the process. The sound is quintessentially minimal, which means that in the subsequent years, there hasn’t been boundless leeway for variation. Instead, to find unwitled aspects, determined post-punkers must deal in the subtlest shades and finest degrees. The element that stands between a track that merely rehashes and one that fully re-energizes might be as slight as an extra layer of reverb or the shade of anguish nuanced in a voice.
Earlier this year, Holograms and Merchandise have found effective brews — now, “Behind Curtains” hints that Lust for Youth may have done it too. The act originated as the project of Hannes Norrvide, who hails from Gothenburg/Copenhagen, employing the sparse synth sounds through his sparse setup. The track is the lead-off from his upcoming Growing Seeds, which could prove quite good if the rest of the album follows suit. Unlike the Lust for Life of a certain Iggy’s proto-punk, which had an authentic lusty mania, Norrvide’s lust is more subdued, and the thing is a nostalgic spin through a severed youth, like the whole genre from which it hails.
Growing Seeds is available from Sacred Bones Records on November 13.