Oftentimes, a complete change in sound and a long delay between full-length albums marks the death knell of a band, or at least a rebirth. After a long brainstorming session -- during which the band lost a guitarist, put out an EP without that guitarist, and gained another in time for the latest record -- Metavari has returned, and the Metavari you hear on Moonless is not the Metavari you heard six years ago, during the release of Be One of Us and Hear No Noise. This time around, the quartet from Fort Wayne, Indiana, seems to have found its niche in the instrumental world, eschewing the grand sonic explosions commonly associated with post-rock in favor of analog and electronic sounds and samples.
Metavari Press Photo

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.

 

2014 was an amazing time for music, and this year, rather than asking the Gina Altamura and Van Pham of the interdisciplinary Portland venue and nightclub Holocene to list their favorite up-and-coming Portland musicians, we decided to give them the opportunity to highlight their favorite shows of 2014, both local and international. The dynamic result is not exclusively Holocene-centric, and definitely gives ample nods to Portland's experimental music scene.
PHOTO: SZA @ Holocene, Courtesy of Red Bull Sound Select SEE ALL POSTS RELATED TO: PORTLAND MUSICIANS + HOLOCENE PORTLAND  

New York City-based video artist Yoshihide Sodeoka is known for his disquieting psychedelic videos, which are characterized by saturated colors, mythological references and a tense expression of time. Working often on an intuitive level, Sodeoka often allows his audio-visual creations to assume their shapes through a combination of spontaneous assemblage and aesthetic choreography. His video art is unique for its translation of noise music into a visual language, and for the close relationship of his moving imagery to principles of stillness. Polarizing aesthetics and themes in particular lend a spiritual tendency to the artist's work -- though not overtly, and perhaps not even consciously -- yet the fine line between good and evil is channeled into intense representations of such duality through the artist's imagery. This symbolically rich language is revealed through Sodeoka's manipulation of the characteristics of distortion and his play with fragmented forms; a fantastical exploration of imperfection in his imagery works in contrast to the sterility of technology.
the13th-yoshi-sodeoka
Influenced by glitch, though not fixated on allowing the process to define his aesthetic, Sodeoka primarily uses the more ambient elements of computer-generated imagery. These aspects are most often expressed as spatial perspective, orientation, duration, and color. By combining glitch with the intentionality of his mythological composition, Sodeoka amplifies the ambiance, presence of error, and minimal gesturing which challenge linear narrative structures.

Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
Building on his tendency of taking music video creation into his own hands, Dustin Wong has, quite appropriately, collaborated with musical co-conspirator Takako Minekawa on making the "She He See Feel" music video. The track is taken from the duo's latest record on Thrill Jockey, entitled Savage Imagination, and the imagination here is savage, indeed. Chroma-keyed imagery is overlaid upon warped, pulsing backgrounds, heightening the manic video game-inspired nature of the music -- and beneath the bedazzling and head-scratching effects of the videos lies pun-filled lyrical content about "flying over a desert via feeling, consciousness, and physics." No shit. In the Q&A interview below, both musicians speak to collaborating together, the relationship between gender roles and cutesiness in Japanese society, and concepts way more profound than one might expect from the music video.__ JAPANESE TRANSLATION BY MORGAN HARKNESS
Dustin Wong Takako Minekawa - She He See Feel Music Video
"... When we express our feelings with visual things (using emoticons and text to dissect them) instead of spoken words and letters, everything and lots of things become heavier coming out. It's all the same water. Discrimination, wars, gender issues... girlfriends, boyfriends, looking, feeling. A prism collects light, and then diffuses light. We are the same light, and we all shine in different ways." - Takako Minekawa

O'Death - ROAM Music Video
In the music video for O'Death's latest single, "ROAM", mismatched body parts from sixteen people contribute to tunnelvision of a most peculiar kind. Psychedelic experiments usually seen on full-color blast are given carnivalesque life through black and white articulation, as viewers take a swirling ride past grim lyrics and disembodied structures. Created by band member Gabe Darling, the experience of this music video is perhaps best summarized using his own description; upon viewing it, "You're just a tourist in this fleshy-hell-party." O'Death's latest record, Out of Hands We Go, is out now on Northern Spy Records, and can be streamed in its entirety on CMJ.com. You can also catch them on their national tour now, with a series of west coast dates beginning in the Pacific Northwest with Stone Jack Jones! Full tour dates below, along with the music video stream and a Q&A with Darling, in which the humor behind his "fleshy-hell-party"-crafting mind truly shines through.

Natasha Kmeto
A couple years ago, I asked Decibel's founder Sean Horton how he manages to make an appearance at every single one (or almost every one) of the showcases during Decibel Festival. His advice was simple: "Don't drink, don't do drugs, don't eat, DON'T STOP!" While this may indeed work for Sean (is he a robot?!), I am but a mere human and had to abandon at least one of his key tenets (I'll let you use your imagination as to which ones). Overall, I felt like my Decibel Festival 2014 experience was less cohesive than in past years, but that may have just been due to my own headspace; I had a hard time settling for just one showcase each night, so ended up show-hopping far more than I ever have at Decibel. Here are a few of the performances & showcases that stood out. Natasha Kmeto @ EMP Sky Church for the Opening Gala; Photography by +Russ
See all Decibel Festival Coverage

Kiev Band Interview
Bands navigating today's music industry are prone to micromanaging and deeply scrutinizing their every career move, but Orange, California's Kiev are not so cynical. Guitarist and vocalist Robert Brinkerhoff -- who introduced himself as "Bobby" at the start of our phone interview -- believes his band prefers a "slow burn" approach, with grassroots, hand-to-hand fan interaction. Kiev's grassroots tactics, which they're perfecting while promoting their debut full-length album, Falling Bough Wisdom Teeth, entail "sticking to your guns and making music you want to make, and knowing that it takes getting people in a room. It means playing shows to all different types of audiences, and hitting the road. It means doing things you love, which for us means making live performance videos, sharing them, and hoping that people get turned on to them in a genuine way and want to share them, as opposed to just being sort of click-bait or a sort of spectacle that gets popular really fast and then dies off really fast."