Circuit des Yeux's performances are like a guided tour through several decades of psychedelia; cherry-picked moments of visionary art rock, viewed through a classy romantic noir cabaret lens. The band is in full tilt as my girlfriend and I enter the Doug Fir's rough hewn wooden basement venue, which is...

French producer Xavier Thomas, aka Debruit, returns with Outside The Line, an intersection of coldwave, African rhythms, and early ‘80s electro and hip-hop. A deep breath, and then it begins....

Platform, the second full-length from San Francisco musician, producer, and conceptual artist Holly Herndon, tackles the many confusing, conflicted layers of modern living, in the form of a poppy, accessible dancefloor sound sculpture. ...

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." - 1 Corinthians 13:11, King James Version
Kissinger Album Review
Childhood's End, by the Croydon, UK producer Kissinger, is the first of a two-part space opera, soundtracking the loss of innocence for a planet, a society, and an individual. It shares its title with a famous sci-fi novel by Arthur C. Clarke, where humanity meets its doom at the hands of an extraterrestrial race that look like the Biblical devil. Kissinger's record, however, isn't as bleak or as dystopian as Clarke's novel, reminding us that growing up needn't be all bad. You're able to do what you want, go where you please, eat dessert for breakfast, stay up all night, and decide where you'll live or who your friends will be. In a lot of ways, adulthood is just the best parts of childhood, refined and taken to their logical, and awesome, conclusions.
Sankt Otten - Engtanz Depression
The genre formerly known as post-rock has had a long, convoluted, and troubled history. It was originally used in print by the rock critic Simon Reynolds to describe bands like Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis, who were bringing in elements of less whitebread music - disco, African rhythms, jazz, krautrock, and Jamaican dub -- and extending their structures to more widescreen classical formats, and blending them with the primal fury of rock 'n roll. Post-rock may have also been the last and greatest victim of co-option and conformity (or can at least share that honor with dubstep), before finally succumbing to postmodern dissolution for good. What became of post-rock? Oh-so-serious dudes in black clothes with long band names, mindlessly aping Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, turned what could have been the most promising mixture of head and heart, guts and chops into a marketing cliché. Thankfully, the German instrumental duo Sankt Otten rewind the clock with Engantz Depression, and make us reassess the possibilities of blending rock instruments with electronic music for a compelling hybrid that takes post-rock back to its roots, to begin again.

 

Anthony Naples - Body Pill Album Review
A lot has been made of the importance of narrative to any kind of instrumental, or wordless, music. This may hold doubly true for electronic music, which speaks in its own vocabulary and operates in its own paradigm, with its own taboos every full electronic album needs to be some grand, convoluted concept album, like a journey through a body or a soundtrack for a race of amphibious extraterrestrials. Though fascinating, one might argue that this overlooks a producer's personal journey, as a compelling narrative.

 

Jan St. Werner - Miscontinuum Album Review
Miscontinuum is a surreal, subjective sound opera; an abstract tone poem; a stream-of-consciousness dream monologue on the nature of time and memory.
"Every memory is just a loop. Returning again to places I once was, before, things are never as I remember them. Every home is also a burning house. Loop... and if one could draw this loop differently, then what? Different lengths? Four different lengths? Changes history's courses - places, people, and events; all of them never were. Could they be made anew with this loop? I doubt it. Is this really happening?" - Intro to Miscontinuum
Miscontinuum, from Mouse On Mars member Jan St. Werner, is the third installment in his Fiepblatter Catalogue series, was originally conceived as an operatic performance and radio play, with a very surreal, stream-of-consciousness libretti written by Oval's Marcus Popp, and recited, wonderfully, by Earth's Dylan Carlson, in his reedy voice. The text revolves around the misconceptions of time and memory, inspired by unique acoustic phenomena derived through digital phasing and musical time-stretching techniques, which is punctuated with St. Werner's tapestry of hypnotic electrical pulsing. Imagine, if you will, if Philip Glass had written an opera based on a text by Haruki Murakami, rather than illustrating Einstein standing on a beach; with Terry Riley on the keys, if it had been recorded thirty years later, and you're getting close to imagining Miscontinuum's minimalist electronics.

 

Every record is an island. An artist's statements shouldn't always be judged on trends, the label they're on, or what other people are doing. Perhaps they shouldn't even be judged against that artist's own work. It's all too common in the current state of music journalism or criticism to hear, "This isn't as good as their old stuff," or as whatever the landmark release is in that genre. Just look at how every shoegaze record has been measured again My Bloody Valentine's Loveless. Still, when a label releases two records on the same day, it's hard not to read into it, or at least wonder if there's some grand vision at work. Especially when that label is Sacred Bones, who are known for collecting skinny post-punk, black tie new wave, tar-dipped goth rock, excoriating noise, and many, many shades of psychedelia under their eye-catching triangle in the circle marker. On November 11th, Sacred Bones released two widely dissimilar records: the motorik futurism of Dream Police's Hypnotized, and the apocalyptic folk goth opera Final Days, from the mysterious Cult Of Youth.

Dream Police - Hypnotized

Dream Police

Cult of Youth - Final Days

Cult of Youth
It's all too easy to fall back on the, "We've seen it all/done it all," perspective of modern ennui. While on one hand, we are seeing more and more subdivisions and chimerical stitching together of genres, the bedroom breakbeat garage popedelica of the world, we are starting to see new forms and structures emerge, thanks to the savvy application of technology. On Clast, Cincinnati producer Kevin Poole, aka Umin, chops and sculpts a variety of stringed instruments into 4-dimensional polychromatic sculptures that unfold over time, in an explosion of color, tonality, and creativity.Umin - Clast Album ReviewClast is constructed from the unlikely source material of a baritone ukulele and guitar. Usually these two instruments conjure images of twee folk music -- something with a hand-knit owl on the cover, perhaps -- but Umin weaves these rootsy threads into a vibrant technicolor holographic tapestry, somewhere between the junkyard raves of the excellent Congolese band Konono No. 1 and the 3D hyperreal casinos of vaporwave's global marketplace.
Ruins, as a word, can mean two things: as a noun, it is a decrepit run-down structure, no longer inhabited. Ruins, as a verb, is to degrade something, to bring about its demise, to fall into ruin. This ambiguity of meaning reveals a hidden face in Grouper's new album, which is much concerned with uncertainty, in marginal spaces that don't necessarily add up or make sense. The word "maybe" occurs multiple times, alongside dream language and landscapes, of cycles and mountainous bodyscapes. Grouper - Ruins Album ReviewToo often, when we talk about music, we talk about it in declarative, categorical terms, as if we were ranking market positions and cataloging guitar solos. This way of thinking and talking about music completely negates the purpose of Grouper's music, and leads to a culture where only the brashest, hypiest, blaring-est musics get heard; the equivalent of everyone shouting to be heard at a dinner party. Instead, Liz Harris' music invites you to lean in and listen closer.

 

The harp, as an instrument, seems to inherently conjure medieval, Celtic, or angelic imagery. When it is joined by swirling synthesizers and bilious clouds of delayed guitars, the brain is left with all manner of interesting juxtapositions, like a tea room melting into sea foam, or some fictitious movie with moonbeams, meteor showers, and unicorns. Mary Lattimore Jeff Zeigler - Slant of Light Album ReviewSlant of Light is the first recorded collaboration between Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler, who first began collaborating in 2013, with a live score for Philippe Garrel's 1968 film, La Revelateur. And while some performers spend decades honing their musical bond, Lattimore and Ziegler seem to immediately comprehend one another, like a pair of musical Gemini twins. Both Lattimore and Ziegler are in-demand session musicians, with the former lending harp plucks to Kurt Vile, Jarvis Cocker, and going on tour with Thurston Moore for years, while Zeigler has slung axe for Chris Forsyth, A Sunny Day In Glasgow, and The War On Drugs. What is first, and most immediately striking about Slant of Light, is how this indie rock lineage has given way to this celestial head trip of a record. It is like a microcosm of the descent into obscure, mind-altering music from the mainstream -- in which every music lover whose parents don't have a hip record collection, has partaken.