Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Ash Borer’s entire discography (up to this point) is now available on chrome high-resolution tape in one easy-to-order package thanks to Land Of Decay. This label has been releasing one essential cassette edition after another, but if you buy any tapes at all this year, make sure you buy this double cassette. We’ve gushed over this band plenty on these pages – there is none bleaker, none blacker, none more intense. The original 2009 demo has been remastered as well, so even if you already own all this material – there is incentive to purchase again. I would not expect this to last for long – $10 and 100 copies at landofdecay.bigcartel.com. GONE.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Artist: Ash Borer
Title: Discography 2009-2011
Catalog Number: LOD 019
Edition Size: 100 Copies
Release Date: Saturday, June 4th, 2011 [Pre-order now]
We are very pleased to release the discography from one of our favorite newer groups: Ash Borer. This release collects all of their released (mostly out-of-print) material to the present: their newest tape on their own Psychic Violence label; the material from their split with Fell Voices; and their demo from 2009, however, unlike the low resolution files of the demo tracks that are available for download on many blogs, the demo material on this tape was mastered by zz. Additionally, the material was professionally duplicated on chome high resolution tape.
Ash Borer are from the west coast and play really bleak black metal. This is epic stuff packed full of riffs intertwined with raw minor key drudgery. For those of you who were fans of our recent Velnias tape, you won’t be disappointed by this release. The newer material is their strongest, and weirdest stuff yet, and includes new member Nate Clement from one of our other favorite bands (Servile Sect)--black metal and analog synths? Yes, please? For those of you who slept on these previous releases, this is your time to jump on this material.
Sure to go fast!
A1: In the midst of life, weare in death
A2: Rest you are the lightning
B1: My curse was raised in the darkness against a doomsday silence
Artist: Persistence in Mourning
Title: Confessions of An American Cult
Catalog Number: LOD 016
Edition Size: 100 Copies
Release Date: Monday, May 30, 2011
Artwork: Black Uroborus Illustrations
Label Contact: email@example.com
Brand new studio album from weird Oklahoma doom project Persistence in Mourning. Of all the releases from this project, this one is arguably the most dynamic: from its use of acoustic instruments like piano, acoustic guitars, to its use of buzzed out guitars and distorted and chanted vocals, swirling synthesizers, and sampled conspiratorial oration.
This is unsettling stuff. A truly bizarre and awesome album? I suppose that a listener could refer to this as doom, but the “metal” tag doesn’t always work for it since it implies a level of provinciality in sound. These pieces at times have a more industrial sound, reminiscent of early industrial music. Bizarre, bleak, burned-out, and brilliant. This is definitely a project to look out for in the coming year.
Artwork for this release was prepared by Black Uroborus Illustrations. Recorded and mastered by zz and professionally duplicated on chrome high resolution tape.
A1: …And Hell Opened at My Feet (9:47)
A2: Conspiracy Theorist (8:45)
A3: Doomsday from the Pulpit (4:26)
A4: Defector Part I (Outside Looking In) (3:34)
B1: I Was Sent to Spread Fear (8:47)
B2: La Violencia (7:38)
B3: Defector Part II (Inside Looking Out) (5:09)
B4: John Doe #2 (6:17)
Friday, May 27, 2011
BILE & HORSEMAN
Steven Hess (Locrian) will play with one of his other groups (Cleared) tomorrow at the Hideout.
You can get tickets at the Hideout's website.
Cleared, David Daniell, and Radian
Date: Sat. May 28 @ 9:00PM
Locrian/ Horseback's New Dominions
(Utech Records)by Grayson Currin
Collaborations can be tough: Oftentimes for bands, opening up a hermetic artistic space to include someone new is simply a pleasurable break from ritual, a chance to have an unexpected variable impact an old, familiar circuit. The product, then, might not matter as much as the process, meaning that what's fun for the musicians to make might not be so good for listeners to hear. Especially when the collaborators are bands with highly developed styles of their own, the results tend to be awkward and hesitant, the sound of unfamiliar allies still looking for their best way to work.
Chicago noise metallurgists Locrian and Chapel Hill's Horseback, the nom de guerre of like-minded form bender Jenks Miller, are such bands. Locrian pushes the limits of violence in harsh noise and extreme metal with maniacal enthusiasm, making a sound that's so mean it often starts to seem pretty. Last year's Territories, for instance, blended black metal and power electronics to a point that threatened to burn speaker wires, making the band's comedowns that much more compelling. Meanwhile, Horseback does much the same in a much more relaxed and languid Southern fashion, adding just enough influence of rhythm 'n' blues in concoctions of sludge, drone and noise to defrost the music's cold Scandinavian core. It's easy to imagine how a collaboration between the two could be stilted, the relentless push of Locrian canceling the measured pull of Horseback until all momentum is squandered.
And New Dominions—recorded last September when Locrian toured to North Carolina for Hopscotch Music Festival—is a rather still listen. Six-minute opener "The Gift" marches with impossible patience as lonely bass drum mutters hold the anchor amid noise that trickles like lava and vocals that suggest a slow strangle to silence. The eruption is slight, with broken drum rolls eventually punctuating the din. "Our Epitaph," the other piece on the one-sided vinyl release, is more than twice as long. Like the lead, it's a work of slowly devolving stasis. A lashed bass guitar, angry vocals and a hi-hat that snaps shut with industrial purpose start the piece. "Tremors of sky/ Punctuated by flares/ Above primeval ruins," a voice invokes, recalling the ruinous landscapes of Territories. The sound is steadily swallowed by an ocean of piercing feedback and subterranean tone; order is overwhelmed.
Paradoxically, this collaboration works because it finds solidarity in misanthropy. Mean as hell, loud as your speakers will allow, New Dominions is the sound of old ideas imploding.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
As my reviews of both of these projects over the past few years surely indicates, these are two of my favorite artists working in the post-post metal field, approaching the genre from a conceptual, almost academic mindset rather than a traditionalist one. It was perfectly logical for them to work together, and this 7" makes for a tantalizing teaser for their upcoming collaborative EP.
Locrian has, to me, always been more about the examination of metal in all its facets: rather than working with headbanging riffs or pounding drums, their work has been a careful deconstruction, focusing on the subtle melodies and ambiences that are so often obscured within the genre. "In The Absence of Light" at first feels like their earliest work: a deep, submarine guitar chug from Andre Foisy that has a more simplistic, drone type quality to it. That is until Terence Hannum’s synths come in, a soft, almost ambient series of meditative notes that clashes with the grinding chaos. Once the echoing, monastic vocals arrive, the whole song takes on a liturgical quality, simultaneously pious and blasphemous, and coming together beautifully.
Jenks Miller's Horseback project, on the flip side, is a bit different than what I had expected to hear. Horseback is usually all about the riff: slow, pounding guitar passages that become hypnotic in their repetition. On "Oblivion Eaters," however, he’s dabbling in layered, rapid arpeggios and what sounds like expansive keyboards buried deep under them. The varying layers synthesize into an almost melodic underpinning with dense clusters of guitar noise blasting away. Miller’s vocals are once again heavily treated and effected to become another instrument in the dense mix.
The two sides compliment each other nicely, shaping the traditional signifiers of heavy metal into distinct, but consistent compositions. Considering this is the work of the two projects independent of one another, I have high hopes for the upcoming New Dominions collaboration of the two.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Locrian, “The Crystal World”
May 19, 2011
By Dave Miller
Once or twice a year an instant classic is released of epic proportions. No question, Locrian’s The Crystal World was pretty much a lone challenger for 2010. It ranked highly on many year-end lists last year. Unfortunately, I was slow to catch on. The calendar would tick on to 2011 before I discovered this triumph of avant metal. Locrian has been catching a lot of attention with its last two studio albums, and the momentum has just picked up with this third behemoth. This is by far their most complex work to date. This is probably due to the addition of Steven Hess (Ural Umbo) on electronics and percussion to the usual duo of Terrence Hannum and Andre Foisy. Released as both vinyl and double CD—I got the disc version. The nearly hourlong track, “Extinction” on the second disc is only available on the CD version. This is worth getting the disc version alone. It is more in step with what we have heard from Locrian before. In my opinion, “Extinction” is more apocalyptic wasteland and less personal struggle than The Crystal World is to me.
This album gets its name from a 1964 novel of the same title by JG Ballard. That novel explored the life of a physician whose specialty was leprosy who went to a remote African outpost. The album draws out audibly the common themes of the book of mystery, despair, alienation, and the unknown. The exotic and completely foreign motif of the novel isn’t a perfect translation of the album. Rather, it’s just point of reference to begin to describe what permeates this music. What is heard is even more odd, despondent, and otherworldly than one could imagine. The impressive fusion of drone, ambient, and metal (specifically black and doom) create quite the experience. One can’t help but feel The Crystal World. It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter emotional contact with this world projected through sound. The at once mystically dark and languishingly beautiful world painted via this album is all-engaging and sensuously-stimulating. You’d have to be dead in order to not feel something.
On the first disc there are six tracks, with the first one, “Triumph of Elimination” being a very creepy mood-setter through minimalistic dronage that’s barely there, ascending guitar picks that twinkle like bells, and background shrieks of torment. Total less is more philosophy that really works! The second track, “At Nights Ends” keeps up the eerie ambiance until midway when it can no longer hold back but explodes with cinematic climax. Here, it gets way more metal with a ear-tugging display of percussion and instrumentation. Glistening reverb, monastic om-like chants, and a steady beat. Then, the third track, “The Crystal World” is progressive metal fused with jazz, doom, and post-rock. It begins with some sweet introspective blissful chords that flit like the sun on the ocean and a partner guitar that keeps things grounded all pulled together by off beat drumming.
The fourth track, “Pathogens” changes things up a bit. It is the most psych that I’ve heard Locrian get. It’s got plenty to keep you mesmerized. I can see how folks who don’t get this kinda music anyway would have the toughest time with this track, but anyone who is reading this webzine would probably find this one pretty rad. It reminds me of a mellowed out air raid siren with various low end rumbles. It’s later joined by some tribalism and some electric riffage that does its own thing. Fifth, “Obsidian Facades” is much more haunting and dreary than the previous track, but Geez Louise do I love it! It starts off with some more of those tortured shrieks mentioned in the first track that are mixed and manipulated to echo and spin about, along with a two-note looped descent into suicidal abyss and some rising amped crunch. It ends up with an interesting guitar line that reminds me somewhat of the piano at the end of Faith No More’s “Epic.” The percussion also steps in to back it up and help to whine this track down.
The final track, “Elevations and Depths,” is what I think this album has been leading up to. It entrances with some nice acoustic style strums and builds up into a mid-afternoon downpour of dour gloom thanks to guitar drone that makes everything go from translucent to grey and some hidden voiced despairing and anguished shouts. It’s probably my favorite thanks to its morph into an almost orchestral piece with what sounds like violin, classical guitar, a light organ, and an accordion. There’s a good chance that my ear might not have gotten all the instrumentation right but it is so dismally beautiful. A perfect way to end the “The Crystal World.” I would listen to this album the whole way through again just to hear this part again. It’s only in its element after everything all the other tracks were building up to. It makes me think of a rainy day, after it’s been pouring all day it lets up a bit. Things aren’t perfect, but there’s a little hope to be had. This is a perfect moment that Locrian has created, perfect.
Utech continues to impress me. They’ve done it again as far as putting together another fine release. This is like a gatefold LP-style package with a disc in either end. The art is printed all over and is from the hand of Vberkvlt. It is visually stimulating as it always draws me in to take a closer look. The CDs each have a matching design that is reflective of the crystal theme. Each one is pocketed in a durable vellum-like sleeve. Simply gorgeous art that matches the complexity of the music. This should be on everyone’s shelf. One of the best of 2010.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, May 20, 2011
Who: Locrian, Mammifer/House of Low Culture, RM74
Date: Monday, June 13, 2011
Location: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Chicago, IL
Mark this one down on your calendars, but don't forget about the Utech Records Fest a few days earlier in Milwaukee. We will hopefully have copies of the upcoming Locrian/Horseback collaborative EP "New Dominions" at this show.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Invisible Oranges did a nice interview with our buddy Jenks. You can check it out here.
If you haven't done so yet, you should go to the Utech site and download a track ("The Gift") from the upcoming Locrian/Horseback collaborative LP.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
There's an interesting interview with Aaron Turner (House of Low Culture/Mammifer) here.
House of Low Culture & Mammifer will be doing a short weekend tour with Locrian next month.
Tickets for the Chicago show recently went on sale here. This will be the last Locrian show in Chicago for a while.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
Looks like this tape is sold out already, but it looks like Discriminate music has some copies.
High Aura’d / André Foisy – Split Tape C30
Posted In: André Foisy, Dean Rocker, High Aura'd, High Aura'd / André Foisy – Split Tape C30, Stunned Records
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A-side: After a period of intense meditation up high in the mountain peaks, his holiness High Aura’D, descends back down to the lowlands in order to present ‘Dusk Latitudes’, 22 minutes of wide and intensive exposure to the radiation effects associated with subtle and luminous guitar glory.
A post-apocalyptic soundscape, in which a suffocation of frenzied feedback, cataclysmic synth keys and demonic drone is juxtaposed with short and subtle moments in a life affirming peace garden, one where enduring acoustic edifices, vocalised verandas, timbral terraces and pitch paths compliment the carefully raked sonic stones.
This is a direct challenge to the dualist dystopia or tendency of humanity to perceive and understand the world as being divided into two overarching categories.
The work moves into the realm “beyond good and evil” in the sense of leaving behind the traditional musicality which High Aura’D subjects to a destructive critique in favour of what he regards as an affirmative approach that fearlessly confronts the perspectival nature of knowledge and the perilous condition of the modern individual.
B-side: A dark and mysterious lone figure briefly ascends from a deep dungeon of torment and suffering, André Foisy has returned to condemn humanity with ‘Untitled’, 21 minutes of sinister stringed sorcery that comes directly from the yawning void of Chaos, home of damned souls.
Although doom laden from the start, the eventual extent to which this begrimed guitar grief, immoral synth moods, debauched drone and victimised vocals sink to is enough to deter even the darkest of musical matter to enter the acoustic abyss. This is a glimpse of harmonic hell, the place where sounds are judged after they decay.
This noisy notion seems to ponder the concept of salvation in Western religion, a reference to the adjudication of God in determining Heaven or Hell for each and all human beings.
However, there are some creeds that claim that salvation can be attained by using only inner human resources such as meditation, accumulation of wisdom, asceticism, rituals, or good deeds. Perhaps listening to this music repeatedly over time will result in an impersonal merging with the Absolute, one expects that Foisy already knows the answer to this occult conundrum.
- Review by Dean Rocker for Fluid Radio
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
. . .
Utech Records is hosting its first ever Music Festival a month from today, June 11, in Milwaukee, WI. You can see details and download a free sampler of the fest’s artists here. The lineup includes heavyweights in the world of drone; we’ve written about some of them here (see links below). Keith Utech is a great graphic designer and has impeccable taste in curating his label. I would go to this in a heartbeat if I lived nearby.
Look out for an upcoming Horseback/Locrian split on Utech. What a pairing! I’m glad this music can have life, not only on wax, but also on stage. If any readers are going, I’d love to get a show report.
— Cosmo Lee
. . .
UTECH RECORDS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2011
LOCRIAN (review, review)
MAMIFFER (review, feature)
HOUSE OF LOW CULTURE
JAMES PLOTKIN (Atomsmasher review)
WILLIAM FOWLER COLLINS
Artist: Persistence in Mourning
Title: Confessions of An American Cult
Catalog Number: LOD 016
Edition Size: 100 Copies
Release Date: Monday, May 30, 2011
Artwork: Black Uroborus Illustrations
DEATH POSTURE is the latest zine collaboration by artist/musician Terence Hannum and artist Scott Treleaven. In a limited edition of 100, the zine includes a set of two pins in a hand-stamped envelope. DEATH POSTURE features a dialogue between Hannum's elegant gouache drawings and raw super8 film footage by Treleaven. A strange, organic kind warmth emerges in the subtle variances of grainy black and white film strips laid out against the intensity and starkness of Hannum's drawings. Towers of amplifiers, prostrated figures, and candles flesh out Treleaven's documents of a visit to an Italian ossuary, fighting dogs, and an anonymous figure. After the success of their first zine, CALL + RESPONSE, this new publication provides an even more subtle iteration of their on-going exchange of overlapping ideas and images.
EDITION OF 100 Copies
Vellum cover w/ black xerox on black paper inside, black & white inside pages
8.5" × 11"
PAYPAL: unluckyatlas (at) gmail (dot) com
Very kind words from Anti-Gravity Bunny.
KILLER SPLIT CITY. Almost TOO much awesome running through this tape. High Aura’d, Boston’s “up and coming” guitar droner John Kolodij, who probably got a lot of worshippers when they saw him opening for Barn Owl on tour last year, teams up with André Foisy, one half of the Locrian duo, who somehow manages to singlehandedly retain all the brilliance of Locrian.
Kolodij takes the A side with “Dusk Latitudes,” a 20+ drift through hazey space/time curves. His Americana stylings don’t show up immediately, instead doing some heavy breathing with the strings & pulses, layin the foundation for the resonant steel slides to come. It’s a foreboding piece, the unnerving tones that ring in your head the moments between the challenge to an old fashioned gun slinging duel and the duel itself. And then at about 7:45, the fucking chaos reigns down, blood pounding through your ears and clouding your eyes, heavy scary shit, a wall of reverb that only lasts as long as the gunfight, and the remainder is you lying full of holes in the bloody dust, surrounded by thick layers of warm drones, looking up at the enlightening sky, thinking about the sincere & beautiful. Truly fantastic stuff right here.
Foisy’s untitled piece is an amazingly perfect companion to “Dusk Latitudes,” the blackened psych string drones that saturate the afterlife. Not overly bleak in the beginning, it weaves a grey SotL/KBD type classical, with distant thunder and a deep sobriety, building patiently upon layers of tension, each minute that passes increasing the sense of gorgeous dread, eventually bringing in somber monk-like vocals that are buried in the gloom. The elegance of this is that it escalates to pillars of dense, grandiose, and terrifying noise drone but you don’t notice until it’s toppling over you with tortured screaming, a fury of electronics, and buzzing riffage that pours out of your speakers, black, painful, and loud as fuck.
I definitely didn’t imagine that High Aura’d & André Foisy would make a solid gold split together, but holy fuck this tape is unbelievable. Stunned always does great work but they totally outdid themselves with this one. Just fucking incredible stuff from both of these guys. Now is it too much to ask for a collaboration?
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
When I first heard about this collaboration from one Jenks Miller (sole member of Horseback), I about crapped my pants. I had been a fan of Locrian for a few years (check out my review of their last album here and a video interview here), and Horseback's "The Invisible Mountain" LP reissue was a fresh memory, so young, excitable me was overcome with joy and a newfound impatience...and it's finally here!
This collaboration is a complete goldmine of textures, ranging from the to the harsh, desolate, and creepy sounds of "The Gift" to the lush, pretty, and awe-inspiring drones of "Epitaph." Ever the experimenters, this four-part collaborating team effectively demonstrates each band's duality through these two songs. We all know Locrian are no strangers to the dark and noisy (especially those of us who saw them open for Agalloch in Chicago), but for those of you who haven't heard Horseback's material outside of the two full-lengths, this is a great jumping off point for Mr. Miller's back-catalog.
Interestingly enough, the making of this post is the first time I've ever seen the artwork for this fantastic one-sided 12" (the other side is an etching!). The fantastic Denis Forkas Kostromitin's hazy, uneasy style fits this collaboration perfectly; it is intriguing and perhaps even comforting, but there is a lingering feeling that you just can't take. A bad taste in your mouth, if you will; growing, menacing.
Turn off the lights and let this envelop you.
This release, and many others, will be available at Utech Records Music Festival in Milwaukee this coming June 11th!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
André Foisy's most recent solo recording from earlier this year. Check it out. Edition of 111 copies from Stunned Records.
"John Kolodij is the one-man powerhouse known as High aura’d, and lately he’s been gaining a much earned reputation for his six-string style and masterful sense of both studio & live composition. Cutting his teeth last year with an excellent Reverb Worship debut as well as accompanying Barn Owl on their 2010 tour, High aura’d beckons us yet again to journey the guitar-guided serpentine path. Entitled “Dusk Latitudes,” this side is a three-part display of the impressive range High aura’d takes his craft on levels of both amplified frequency and pure human feeling. The wonder and awe conjured here will be necessary anchor-points upon entering André Foisy’s spooked arena of souls on Side B. This member of esteemed Chicago group Locrian presents a grim monolith sculpted by his mighty guitar and dystopic groans. Not a trip for the weak of heart, Foisy invites all courageous initiates into an unforgettable labyrinth where quite anything can happen. Limited edition of 111 pro-dubbed & imprinted c45 tapes w/ double-sided color jcard."