Sunday, February 24, 2008

Febuary Releases

These are a few records released this month that I have not heard yet, but am excited to get my hands on.

L'ocelle Mare is the newest project of avant guitarist Thomas Bonvalet, formerly one half of France's excellent Cheval De Frise. After the tray time Frenetic Record's Fresques Sur les Parois Secrètes du Cråne received, it would be a sin not to pick up Thomas's solo record. But if that alone wasn't enough, the tracks provided on his website point towards a braver, more complex, fascinating direction for the classically trained guitar man. I've had tracks "9" and "2" in my head for weeks now, trying to decode the narratives hidden within them. You have to wonder about the writing process that led to these songs, because they seem to grow naturally, as if improvised, but retain a flawlessness and a precision that suggests design. Very impressive.

CD available at Sickroom Records. Plays Chicago on Mar. 1st in store at Permanent Records.

My Disco also releases their second record this month, and based on the tracks provided here, it seems likely to be even stronger than their first. I'm basing this mostly from the tracks "You Came to Me Like A" and "Paradise" which boast an impressive understanding of restraint and minimalism in structure which I thought was long dead. If the rest of the album meets the standard reached in these two tracks, then we're in the runnings for the best of year. My Disco hail from Australia and it doesn't look like they have any immediate plans to visit Chicago or the States which is too bad for us, and too bad for the dying genre.

The new record, Paradise, is available at Stomp Entertainment.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Derek Bailey

Experimental etc. has more D. Bailey improvisations available for download (I mean, like, all of them). Including the link to this amazing video, and others. The timing of Etc's post is uncannily serendipitous, because I've fallen into a deep and incurable obsession with Mr. Bailey's works over the last few weeks. It's really out of control. I haven't seen the sun in days. My friends stopped trying to call me. I don't know who I am anymore.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Distressed (2006)

Nels Cline, guitar; Zach Hill, drums; Jonathan Hischke, bass, bass synths; Matt Zivich, synths

I bought this early last year but it seems lately I've been giving it a ridiculous amount of playing time. I'm not too familiar with any other Z. Hill projects beside Hella, so I'm not sure if he often ventures outside of his metal comfort zone, but he certainly ought to. This album could certainly be defined as avant garde, and I'm not sure that the genre sees drumming like this very often. Nels is at his best on this record, leading the tangents, with his trademark and refined union of free-jazz and free-noise guitar stylings. And Matt Zivich's intelligent noise-making is particularly impressive with it's display of subtlety and restraint, all the while remaining a powerful presence in the quartet. (Apparently he's Wilco's live sound engineer (?), but he ought to do this type of thing more often as well.) And the bass winds around Nels guitar like a true professional. All the elements are in place, here. It is a refreshingly unique improvisational exhibition, a cut above the sort of improvised-noise recording one might be expecting. Recorded in one day.

Listen to this mp3, "Deathwatch on the American Empire". Or at a myspace.
Buy the record here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Three by ZU

One of the many terrible things about being obsessed with noise happens when you find a great record by a band you've never heard of before. Instanly you need everything they've done. The thought of that one great record, just collecting dust out there. You vow to find their every release, and wrangle them in like helpless, lost steer. And then the nightmare thickens as one by one the steer turn up rare, expensive, out of print, or worse, Italian. Zu have such a history of rapid-fire releases and collaborations that I imagine are half-improvised and pressed so fast they themselves forgot about them. That's not even a joke, you think Nels Cline remembers all of his collaborations? Bullshit. Because I know that motherfucker, and I know that motherfucker doesn't!

Here are three OOP by Zu I can't find anywhere.

Listen to Zu here. Buy their stuff here.

And I've never met Nels Cline in my life.

Friday, February 1, 2008


Here are two more releases that I've had some trouble finding, which the blogosphere has recently, graciously provided.

Derek Bailey
Aida (1981)

Found here:

This sort of instrumentation knocks you upside the head and proves that the music you have been listening to all your life has been boring and colorless and without dimension. I don't think there will ever be a time where I will say I'm done finding Derek Bailey releases, so I can't necessarily say it's my favorite, but this is the best I've heard yet. There are moments in this record that are super-human. And because Art is social, by listening to it, by proxy, you are traversing the new plane right beside him.


A Short Apnea

Illu Ogod Ellat Rhagedia (Ustrainhustri) -2000

Found here:

Not as mature or self-assured as the Gorge Trio collaboration, or even the excellent Indigo Ballad, Illu Ogod is the A Short Apnea's, wilder, untamed, uncertain adolescence. It is loaded with daring, unexplored ideas which shift gears at random, refusing to be locked down, shoveling new sounds and combinations of sounds one after the other. If this group wrote the book on artistry in noise-making, then this record is chapter one.