Saturday, February 28, 2009

REVIEW: The Secret Machines - Secret Machines

6.75 out of 10
Find it here.


Until this album, my first taste of The Secret Machines was their 2006 release "Ten Silver Drops" and it took me a little while to appreciate it. Lately when I listen to something new, I've been looking for that one quirky standout attribute to set them apart from other bands. I had a tough time doing that for this band, but I was listening to the wrong things. The Secret Machines don't really have that special something that you hear and right away think "..Oh man, THAT was awesome". And it's fun when that does happen, but then I tend to get burned out on it too easily cause I cant stop listening to it. This band simply lets their songwriting speak for itself. Their style of writing (specifically on Ten Silver Drops) is pretty straight forward rock. Its just well written. But I mean, REALLY well written. Rolling Stone once described their sound perfectly as having Pink Floyd psychedelia, Led Zeppelin stomp, and The Who-inspired choruses. Once fully soaked in, that record had a hold over me, still does. One of the founding members, Ben Curtis, left the band in March of 2007 to focus full-time on his new band School Of Seven Bells. They have since recruited some new members including Fred Blasco who is Interpol's touring keyboardist. They are pretty well established in their sound. Fans of them can hear two seconds of a Secret Machines song and peg 'em right away.

On their new self-titled release, My first thought was "Yup, it's Secret Machines alright." I think I may have expected too much from this record, they had quite the shoes to fill. But I kept coming back to it cause they always wow me eventually somehow. If you listen to this and get bored halfway through, just wait and hang in there. The first cluster of songs are not bad, but nothing to blow your wad over. Typical (but good) Secret Machines. About halfway through is when they start getting "serious". Track 5, "Now Your Gone", really grabbed my attention. I'm always a sucker for the angsty loss-of-a-loved-one type of song. This song is VERY reminiscent of the opener to Ten Silver Drops called "Alone, Jealous And Stoned". The very next track, "The Walls Are Starting To Crack", drags you even further down melancholy street. It winds down halfway through and turns into an impromptu drum solo/reverb saturated/glitchy/random madness, then starts to build back up and goes EXACTLY where I hoped it would. It eventually explodes back into the same chord progression but accompanied with an epic solo and a chorus of what I picture in my head to be a group of large, tearful black women, soulfully whaling away. Second to the last track is a drumless ballad that sustains the provided mood quite well while nursing your wounds at the same time. A faint spread of deep synth gives this song the extra added something that picks you up a little, dusts you off and sends you on your way like a mother sends off a heartbroken child on his way to his first day of school. This song is the equivalent of "1,000 Seconds", the closer for Ten Silver Drops.

Now, the last track, oh man... this IS the standout gem I've been waiting for. Without warning, it explodes into this epic, down-tempo, doomsday, almost skull-grabbing type of hook. It occasionally mellows and allows for the verse to do its thing, but once they burst back into the same hard hook, its always followed by something new to further sustain its madness.

While still a notch below "Ten Silver Drops", this is still a great record. But like I said, if it doesn't tickle your fancy, give it another chance, come back to it later, do what you have to do. With only 8 tracks here, it's a very neatly wrapped package from start to finish.

Standout Tracks: Now You're Gone, The Walls Are Starting To Crack, I Never Thought To Ask, The Fire Is Waiting

Cool Video Funtime #13 - Souvlaki Space Station

REVIEW: The Angels Of Light - How I Loved You

10 out of 10

Michael Gira is the lead singer of Angels Of Light/Swans & Founder of Young God Records. He has one of those "distinct" vocals that undeniably makes him "Michael Gira". You know, the same quality that Tom Waits and Nick Cave possess? Michael Gira is also, in my opinion, goth in it's truest form. I've only been following Michael Gira's career for about 5 years now, which isn't that much at all. About a two weeks ago or so I received an email, that I get regularly recommending various artists, "How I Loved You" was recommended, I thought I'd give it a go, I already owned "Everything Is Good Here / Please Come Home" by Angels Of Light, and a few different Swans albums, all of which are terrifically dark, twisted, and bitter, but most importantly genius.

If you look at Amazon's rating for "How I Loved You" you will see it gets a 4 star review, which is damn impressive, but when compared to the rest of his albums that are reviewed you'll see it that it is the lowest ranked. I'm not sure what's up with this amalgam. But, out of all the Michael Gira related albums I've heard, this is by far my favorite. "How I Loved You" is dark/brooding/ & romantic sometimes "bitter" goth rock ballads, dreamy/relaxing/psychedelic, multi-layered vocal harmonies, slide guitars, upright bass, violins, sometimes jazzy drum lines, accordion, eerie organ work, well planned piano notes, and of course Michael Gira's trademark vocals.

I've listened to this album on average two times a day for about two weeks now, and I'm still not sick of it, this would be on my "Top 100 Albums Of All Time" list if I ever made one. "How I Loved You"(which may have been a "chance purchase") by The Angels Of Light, is the official "I now know I have to own every piece of art/music this man has laid his hands on" album.

Standout Tracks: ALL. But mainly.. Evangeline, My True Body, Song For Nico, NEW YORK CITY IN THE FUTURE, New York Girls

Nico Muhly composing work for the world's first "Scent Opera"..?

Nico and Valgeir collaborating on the music for the world's first "Scent Opera", to be premiered at the Guggenheim Museum on May 31st, 2009. The libretto consists of scents by fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel and forms a narrative together with the music. The Director is Stewart Matthew.

From: Time Out NY
We Smell A Hit

...Now, in the latest salvo of Muhly’s comprehensive assault on the realm of the senses, he’s teaming up with director Stewart Matthew, fragrance designer Christophe Laudamiel and musician-producer Valgeir Sigurdsson for Green Aria, the world’s first “Scent Opera,” at the Guggenheim Museum May 31 and June 1.

According to the press release, audience members will listen to music by Muhly and Sigurdsson in a darkened room while a “scent organ,” designed by Fläkt Woods, triggers “scent microphones” attached to each seat, which will emit suggestive scents to tell the story.

Hopefully the music doesn't stink...oh!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Andrew Broder (Fog) releases a solo album..Version 5.0

From Mr. Broder:

Party People,

Here's another one for you.


Tracklisting:
1) Reliance
2) Placate
3) Goodbye Tom
4) Bats
5) Places No One Else Is
6) Reasons Not to Go
7) Much
8) By Force

Sorry this one took a little longer than a week. I've been busy. Get off my back.

You know the drill by now: This is free if you want it to be, but you can also pay if you want, any amount, via paypal, to: thefog@visi.com

And please, give this to anyone you want to, and if you are the "uploading type" don't hesitate to make a new link for it, so it's easier for more people to find.

And if you haven't gotten the previous installments yet, here are the links to those:





Dumpin Em in Ditches,
Andrew

Neat.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Everything I need to know in life, I learned from Purple Rain.

1. Purple IS the color of choice. Bitch.
2. If you marry a bipolar abusive musician, your marriage may have some ups and downs.
3. To appease Prince you must baptize yourself, specifically in lake Minnetonka.
4. Be a huge d!#k to your girlfriend and she'll buy you your dream guitar.
5. If you want to be a composer, you've got to dress like Beethoven. It will get you more women.
6. If your music isn't bringing in the crowd let Wendy and Lisa write the songs.
7. If you can't be Prince, be Morris. That guy can dress. Him AND his pimp army.
8. The password is Okay.
9. You don't need a name to be famous. Just call me the Kid.
10. Prince kicks ass motherf$$kers!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

REVIEW: Fight Bite - Emerald Eyes

7 out of 10

It seems the "Lo-Fi Bug" has hit a lot of indie bands these days. I'm not sure if the genre could ever be "commercially successful" but it always seems to have a "cult" following. Fight Bite continues in the traditional sense of Lo-Fi meets Indie, only they add quite a bit of saturated Dream Pop to the mix, making them come off as an "elevator friendly" Ladytron or Stereolab.

If you like laid back, dreamy, peppy, pretty, catchy, feminine "Beach Boys-esque" vocal harmonies, Lo-Fi, Indie, Dream Pop "Emerald Eyes" should go down quite smoothly for you. Layer's of vintage, somewhat broken down synths stretched over vintage drum machine(possibly Casio keyboard) loops, twinkly piano, gorgeous female vocal harmonies that are also sometimes reminiscent of A Sunny Day In Glasgow, and production values only a 8 track recorder could give you. Give this an album a go next time you're in a laid back kind of mood.

Standout Tracks: Never Let Go, Swissex Lover, Emerald Eyes, Dorthea, Strings, Spring Rain

Absurd Imagery Time #1 - Baptism


Cool Video Funtime #12 - Embers

Monday, February 23, 2009

REVIEW: The Remote Viewer - You're Going To Love Our Defeatist Attittude

7.75 out of 10

The Remote Viewer are a minimal electronic acoustic band off of the terrific City Centre Offices label. On "You're Going To Love Our Defeatist Attitude", their 4th release, they enlist the help of Nicola Hodgkinson from Empress(#8 of 03). This is a pretty laid back approach to minimalism techno.

This album is good for "going to sleep music". Or, if you're "hip" enough a soundtrack for a sheik/"fancy" wine and dinner party with some friends. Plucked guitar loops, buzzing electronics, clicks, bleeps, bloops, deeeep bass lines, pretty vocals (on select tracks), backwards swooshes and swirls, pianos, and "vintage" samples. Reminds me of Boards Of Canada remixed by Fourtet, only on the Ghostly label. If you're into relaxing music you will not be let down by this release.

Standout Tracks: All of them(but ESPECIALLY the ones with Nicola in them).

Olafur Arnalds NEW "Minimial-Techno" side project..

Olafur Arnalds, if you haven't heard him yet, is a Classical Icelandic composer. Reminiscent of Max Richter, meets the orchestration/Classical elements of Sigur Ros, with a dash, just a dash, of experimental electronics.

On March 30th, his newest project "Kiasmos" will release a split 12" with
Rival Consoles (who are also cool) on Erased Tapes.

You can order your copy, as well as hear snippets
here.



Map's talks new album.."Turning The Mind"

From James (of Maps):

Hey folks!

It’s me. James. Back to tell you what’s goin on right now, and has been going on since you last heard from me. First of all I hope you are doin good and thanks for takin the time to read this.

I’m gonna write a blog every week from now on to keep you up to date with the latest sh!t that’s goin on. Also, I’m gonna post photos when I’ve figured out how to work my frigging camera! Oh fer sure. Just photos of anything and everything Maps-related.Sooooo.

Here’s an interview I did. It might answer a few questions you may have about WHERE THE F$c& MAPS HAS BEEN FOR THE PAST 6 MONTHS?

But the main thing you should know is I’ve never been more confident and excited about this new album.

"We Can Create" was merely the birth of Baby Maps.

"Turning The Mind" is the fully-formed manifesto.

Q: How are you doin?
A: Cut to the chase. Let’s begin.

Q: So, um, where have you been?
A: I’ve been working in The Contino Rooms on Gray’s Inn Road with soldier of sonic sounds Mr Tim Holmes, from Death In Vegas. He is an awesome awesome guy.

Q: How’s it been goin?
A: Very well indeed. We’ve been working underground in the studio for long hours and got 13 tracks nearly complete. I’m then going choose the tracks which will make the finished record.

Q: How does it differ from the 1st album?
A: Edgier, angrier, more electronic, more personal, more focused and better. Much better.

Q: Where does the title “Turning The Mind” come from?
A: It’s the name given to a practice used by certain doctors and therapists to help people’s lives and change the way people think about life. The themes of the album are related to ‘chemical’ reactions in the brain, both natural and man-made. Depression. Euphoria. It’s a subject I’ve been very close to over the past few years. This is a very cathartic album for me.

Q: Um, so it’s an electronic album about mental illness?
A: Mental states.

Q: And drugs?!
A: No. Chemicals.

Q: Hmmm. Sounds a little pretentious to me.
A: What??!!

Q: O.k. o.k. I’ll reserve judgement. Is it seriously better than the 1st record though?
A: Do I look like I’m f%*king joking?

Q: No.
A: Well then. You may continue.

Q: O.k. thanks. But please don’t wave that knife at me again.
A: Agreed.

Q: So. The music. What have you been listening to and what has formed some of the influence on the new Maps sound?
A: Well. Detroit techno, minimal techno, nu-disco, Nurofen, all things I’ve been playing out when DJing but it still sounds like a Maps record.

Q: How is that possible??
A: A true magician never reveals his secrets. Just ask Paul Daniels.

Q: What about Shoega….
A: Nope!

Q: O.k then. So. Live. Will you be performing with the same band?
A: No.

Q: How will it work then?
A : Very differently. I’m working with a techno DJ called August Jakobson who’s going to help a lot. It’ll be stripped down. I want to get back to the core of what Maps was about in the first place. The heart of what I always wanted it to be.

Q: When will you be playing shows again?
A: May. Hopefully.

Q: Is it true you have also been working with techno legend Oliver Huntemann?
A: Yes he’s going to be doing a couple of mixes. I’m really honoured and excited. He seems like a great guy.

Q: When is the album due for release?
A: Summer hopefully,...

Q: Thank you for your time James. It’s been a pleasure.
A: Is there a Mcdonalds round here?

SOOOO. There you go. Maybe that’s cleared a few things up. Or maybe you’re more confused than you were. But I will update whenever I can and let you know everything that’s goin on.

Keep happy and hopeful. I’ll be back soon.
James xxxx

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jimmy Edgar to produce the next Justin Timberlake album,,. huh?


Just off the top of my head

Japan tour in a few days.. playing Tokyo Womb with Juan Atkins.. should be interested.. yes, he actually showed up, he is there now.. I'm scrambling to get my visa in order on monday so I can be legal with no Japanese border arrests like last time

New Kathy Diamond remix out on Disco Demolition label..http://www. junodownload. com/ppps/products/1391313-02. htm

There is also a video on Vimeo if you want to creep around there for it.. I wasnt too impressed by it though. but decent attempt.

"A New Alias Called Noir Friction" should be seeing a release on a new label called Night Moves really soon... its a big change from everything else I've done.. digital and vinyl releasewhat else?

After my tour im taking a trip to work on Justin Timberlakes new album for a few weeks

Ok Thnxx, J

REVIEW: Rudi Arapahoe - Echoes From One To Another

8 out of 10

When listening to Rudi Arapahoe's wonderful opus "Echoes From One To Another" its hard not to be swept off your feet by it's thick layers of romanticism and dream-like accompaniment. Beautiful "folkloric"/other acoustic qualities like a harp intertwine and at times sway with "story-like" ambience, heart wrenchingly/goregeous piano melodies, sampled rain drops, forest readings, white noise, swirling atmosphere's, and of course Kaithlin Howard's "all ear's on me" vocals. "Echoes.." is for fans of "Nu Classical(AKA Max Richter, Julien Neto, Arve Henriksen, etc.)", Ambient, operatic/worldsy, 4AD's(This Mortal Coil, Dead Can Dance) Dream Pop/hazey style of music, and just good soothing/romantic music in general.

If you're lost in a dark/dismal forest, Metaphorically speaking or not, completely isolated, you're already living this album.

Standout Tracks: To Gather Flowers, Forest Of Arches, Echoes From One To Another, Lunar Semaphore, Conversation Piece, Vulture Phantasy, Pleroma, My Shadow (Vanishes)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Music IS MY Religon

I recently had a talk with a friend concerning religion, and we both agreed everything else aside, that we were simply not "spiritual" enough to join a Buddhist convent or go to church even. Reflecting on it further, I came to the conclusion that even though I'm an Atheist, I do have spirituality. What people find in religion, I find in music. Solace is mine for as long as the album spins. Our savior is the artist, our hymns their songs. The congregation is the fellow fans of....whomever. If you think of it, people treat their favorite albums as sacred relics. They couldn't go on without them. Music is part of your identity, just as much as anything else. It helps scopes our opinions and tells the tales of our time. It is my pastime. It is my obsession. It keeps me going, day to day. I may have lost my passion for "God" long ago, but I will take my love of music to the grave. Hallelujah.

REVIEW: The Redneck Manifesto - I Am Brazil

6 out of 10

The Redneck Manifesto are an instrumental rock band from Dublin, Ireland. "Post Rock" as a style has been worn to the bone for some time now, but luckily I picked up this album while the whole thing was still fresh. Take Indie Pop, "Yes aesthetics" and wrap it with some "Tortoise aspirations". It's noodles galore on three or more guitars. That's what I like about them though, their not just another Explosions In The Sky "tribute" band.

TRM are fun, but, unfortunately, the song writing just isn't dynamic enough to hold your attention the whole time. At times the extra guitars don't flesh out the melody enough and just come off as self indulgent.

Overall I'm glad I heard these guys. It's nice to know instrumental guitar based bands can be upbeat as well. To bad their working in such a boring style though.

Standout Tracks: I Am Brazil, We Still Got It, Hibernation Statement, I Have Not Make It

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

REVIEW: Harmonic 313 - When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence

6.75 out of 10

When this album begins you may feel you're just listening to another "generic" Dubstep album, but give it about 2 or 3 songs and you'll see that Mark Pritchard has no problem genre hopping, giving "When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence" a real interesting flare/cut above most electronic albums today. Harmonic 313 takes all of the fun parts of popular electronic genres and mixes them all quite nicely.

"World Problems" has to be my favorite track on this album imagine Apehx Twin's "Window Licker" mixed by Kraftwerk...yeah it's that awesome. Overall this is a pretty tight electronic album, I like the tracks that are "less Dubstep-y" more though. If you're a fan of Dubstep music, Vex'd, Aphex Twin, Warp Records, Kraftwerk, Boards Of Canada, Isolee, Hip Hop, or Dabrye you should have no problems bobbing your head to this album.

Standout Tracks: Music Substitute System, Koln, Galag-a, Word Problems, Call To Arms, Falling Away feat. Steve Spacek, When Machines Exceed Human Intelligence

REVIEW: Taxi Taxi - Taxi Taxi

8 out of 10

Taxi Taxi sound a lot like Midaircondo, if they were produced by PJ Harvey. Fans of gorgeous piano melodies, beautifully plucked string instruments, accordions, and out of this world/gorgeous female vocal harmonizing will fall in love with this release quite easily.

Identical twin sisters, Miriam and Johanna Eriksson Berhan, may be the female Simon & Garfunkel of the "indie underground". Great folk music off of the Rumraket label, which is run by Efterklang. If you like; Azure Ray, PJ Harvey, Midaircondo, or any kind of folk music stop waiting and fall in love with these ladies already..

Standout Tracks: Belle, To Hide This Away, Heart, Mary, ..honestly all of them are terrific.

REVIEW: Odawas - The Blue Depths

9 out of 10

It's going to be extremely hard to top "The Blue Depths" in 2009. Odawas have outdone themselves, yet again. Truly one of the most lush/gorgeous/warm albums I've ever heard. Is it still Odawas? Yes!, but with tons upon TONS of dreamy/saturated synths, pleasing "80's Pop" inspired vintage drum machine loops, Michael Tapscott's Neil Young style vocals, harmonica/accordion effects, plucks of damp guitars, and of course that "weird" factor that, to me, still makes Odawas "unclassifiable".

Much like Odawas previous effort, "Raven And The White Night", this album is an overall gazey dream sequence drenched in acid. Best thing you could do while listening to this album is watch the sunset on a clear day, in the most beautiful spot where you live. But don't just watch it, SOAK in the rays, feel the warmth. Any good emotions you get from the sun, focus on those. Find a good pair of headphones and soak in "The Blue Depths". Fans of Neil Young, M83, Shoegaze/Dream Pop music, "Experimental" Folk music, unique Indie atmospheric qualities, Odawas should already be a part of your lives.

This may be in my top albums of all time list(which one day I'll put together, maybe?). Either way; You don't like it = I don't like you. You get it?

Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM.

Monday, February 16, 2009

REVIEW: Salem - Water EP

7.25 out of 10

For those of you into "lo-fi"/"electronic" music Salem will be your newest friend/acquaintance. For those of you into Deadsy Salem may just be your new best friend. Salem is Deadsy meets Namelessnumberheadman only more dream pop-ier, and so fuzzed out it becomes lo-fi.

Salem uses thick/vintage synthesizers, old/busted drum machines, a grungey sounding guitar, saturated/"chorus pedal'd" vocals, and what seems to be a 4 track recorder. I keep mentioning Deadsy as a reference, but I need to clarify that Salem resembles the EARLY stages of Deadsy, before the were signed to major label and couldn't necessarily put all the money behind an album that they'd like to. Back when Deadsy was more synthesizer based, and les "goth-rock". Either way, even if you dislike Deadsy, check out "Skull Crush", it's a pretty simple, but catchy, "darker-pop" song, carried by deep/long synths and almost barely audible vocals.

Standout Tracks: Water, Skull Crush

Cool Video Fun Time #10 - It Goes Without Saying

Andrew Broder (Fog) releases a solo album..Version 4.0

From Mr. Broder:

Hello Everyone,

Back at that ass for the nine-trey- behold, the latest installment of my self-released album series. This one is called "We Had to Eat the Owl".

Thank you for your continued listening and feedback. You'll notice this one has a slightly different pace than the previous ones, though was made with the same ingredients - turntable, guitar and pedals.

Here is the link.

Some of you may have heard about this economic crisis that we are currently experiencing. You might consider making a voluntary paypal donation to: thefog@visi.com and help take a bite out of this recession. You know, get the economy moving again. A jolt, if you will. I need a jolt.

You can listen in whatever order you like, but my preferred tracklisting is:
1.No Argument Here
2.Lasting
3.Revel
4.Pay the Man
5.All Automatic
6.Until it Bleeds

And here, in case you have not yet partaken, are the links to the previous three albums:




Thanks,
Andrew

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yay again.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

REVIEW: Skinny Puppy - Too Dark Park

9 out of 10

What would the world be like without Skinny Puppy? If you're familiar with their sound, you know they are one of THE premier industrial acts. You'd agree, without them the world would not be the same as it is today. They are one of the first industrial bands I got into, and to this day I've never heard a band that even comes close to sharing their sound. It's dance music in it's darkest place. Or, "a nightmare with a beat".

"Too Dark Park" is Skinny Puppy's 1990 masterpiece/opus. Both "abrasive" and "challenging", Too Dark Park pushed their signature sound perversion even further. Some might say it's their best, it certainly is my favorite. Ogre(Ohgr)'s shrill screams about animal testing, pollution and pure destruction pierce out against a backdrop of synthesized bass and distorted horror. Honestly, it's catchy and quite driving. I always find myself bobbing my head. Don't get me wrong though, it's very dark. VERY dark.

If you've never checked out Skinny Puppy, and you like industrial/electronic/experimental music, I think this is a great place for you to start. If you're already a fan and you don't have it, what the hell is wrong with you? One of the most memorable and sinister albums around, Too Dark Park is not worth missing out on.

Standout Tracks: Rash Reflection, Tormentor, Convulsion

Monday, February 9, 2009

EIC'S1018Q'S w/Peter Christopherson

EIC is very happy/proud to share an exclusive interview with none other than:

Peter Christopherson
(Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV/Coil/Threshholdhouse Boys Choir)

The Father of Industrial music.

SLEAZY BIO
Peter Martin Christopherson, a.k.a. Sleazy (born February 27, 1955) is a musician, video director and designer, and former member of the influential British design agency Hipgnosis. He was one of the original members of the infamous Industrial Records band, Throbbing Gristle. After Throbbing Gristle he participated in the foundation of Psychic TV along with Geoffrey Rushton, aka John Balance. After his short time in Psychic TV, Christopherson formed Coil along with Balance, which lasted just under 23 years, until Balance died of a fall in their London home. Christopherson has participated in the reuniting of Throbbing Gristle as well as composed an album for his current solo endeavour The Threshold HouseBoys Choir.



Hello, how are you?
I'm pretty good today thank you, although it does unfortunately seem to depend, even now, whether I spent the previous night doing something good for me, or bad for me - both can be fun, so it is a question - annoyingly enough - of having "the wisdom to know the difference". (And my answer is NOT necessarily always the one Alcoholics Anonymous implies)

What’s a day in the Life of “Sleazy” like these days?
Pretty good in so far as, where I live it's almost always sunny and 70-80 degrees; pretty tough in so far as I generally start replying to emails around 8am, start real work around 10am and often don't finish things to my satisfaction till after midnight...As you know being a "maestro" doesn't come easy or without a lot of hard work ,-) made more so by being in at least 3 bands all with different agendas who are all planning shows this year.

What are you currently listening to?

Today I listened to Late Junction, a very eclectic show on the BBC’s “Radio 3“, available via the web, and some of the soundtrack to “The Spirit” movie, which was surprisingly cool.
When you first began Throbbing Gristle did you ever think your brand of “noise terrorism” would develop into the scene it is today? What are your thoughts on today’s “Industrial” scene?
Is there an Industrial scene today? - A few years ago, when the major labels still meant something, I would have said there WAS a pigeon-hole called Industrial which was mostly overflowing with junk mail from companies selling trash bins and junk yard rubbish (which was absolutely nothing to do with what we set out to do back in the 70s).
Now I'm not sure it even exists as a distinct genre.
There's just a million bands out there - many using the same tools because it's easy - all trying to get noticed, some because they love sound, and how it makes them feel... Feel in their hearts and feel in their asses - Others just because their girlfriend wants a Ferrari. Obviously I'm happy I'm still in the "love sound" section! :)

Growing up as a boy, do you remember the first sound/noise you heard that inspired you to write the music that you write today?

I was lucky enough to go to a school that had a music practice wing with little rooms each with its own upright piano, (many pretty messed up) that anyone could go to play with during free time. Although I didn't take piano lessons there (thank god) it didn't take long to figure out that some keys sounded good when pressed together, and others boring, and almost all sounded better with thumb tacks (drawing pins) stuck in the hammers or paper between the strings. I was Preparing Pianos in the 60s not long after John Cage, and certainly before I had heard of him (I can't say if he ever heard of me :)

Who are your main influences?
William S Burroughs was the first writer to show me how different the world was, from what I'd been told as a kid. This taught me that it was okay to publicly admit that boys (and drugs) could be sexy, and also revolting...
Captain Beefheart was the first musician I ever heard, who played purely by his own rules, which taught me that the other rules didn't really matter.
Although with the music I make now, I try not to have obvious influences, I generally enjoy music that sounds light-on-its-feet, weather-beaten and happy.

Is there a reason you put your Coil albums out in such limited/hard to find quantity’s? I think I paid at least forty dollars for “Ape Of Naples”. I would’ve paid ten times that amount.
If you go to http://www.thresholdhouse.greedbag.com/ you can buy all the Coil cd’s currently in print (and all my recent work), at a MUCH more reasonable price, and even cheaper downloads of those not in print. You just have to hunt a little harder than the bloody Genius Bar.
It's true it's harder to find Coil cd’s cheaply in stores than before, but these days it's harder to find the stores themselves.

Your newest project, “The Threshhold HouseBoys Choir” is more “worldsy”/ambient than Coil. Is this the general direction you plan on taking with this project?

Since THBC is a solo project (though using many of the voices of my friends and houseboys) it most closely reflects my true personality, which is becoming more relaxed and, since I live in Thailand, I guess more 'worldsy'.
My recent show at the Brainwaves Festival even included me, not singing but at least 'entertaining' the audience with a few insights into My Sleazy Life. Unfortunately I don't have much hair left to 'let down', but if I did, that would be a THBC show! :-)

Should we ever expect a full US tour anytime soon?

My friend Andrew suggested I should promote a solo US tour as "An Uneasy Evening with Unkle Sleazy" which would be a mixture of music, stories, video, and conversation, but I'm not sure the US Moral Majority, or even the American Rifle Association, are quite ready for that kind of a show :)

Best tour story?
I expect you mean about misbehaving with Mars Bars or tender young flesh or something, but that's not what I do on tour - that's my HOME life! :)

What was Jhonn Balance like on a personal level?

That's too hard a question! - what are YOU like on a personal level?
I can tell you that we had NO secrets from one another. It's not often you can say that about another human being.

Part Two: The Endless Not” is one of the best pieces of art that my ear canals have ever digested, Thank you!
You're welcome! :)

What was writing that album like? Did you expect it to turn out the way it did?
I never know how something is going to turn out beforehand - I never really know if its finished until suddenly (if you're lucky) you realize "I can't make this any better".
With the Endless Not (as with SoiSong in fact) much of the brilliance of the arrangement was not down to me. With TG its generally Chris who is in charge of that part, and with SoiSong I only write the most basic melodies, and make a few vocal parts, and Ivan Pavlov turns it into genius!
Please check out the SoiSong album when it comes out in a month or so. Its called "xAj3z" - see http://www.soisong.com/, and myspace.com/soisong. I think I may be more proud of it, than anything else so far.

I hear you’re remaking NICO’s “Desert Shore” album with Throbbing Gristle…is this true? How is that process coming along? Is there a tentative release date?
It's true. It was an idea I had a few years back, and recorded some rough backing tracks, that all four members of TG elaborated on last year at London's Institute of Contemporary Art. Originally I had thought of inviting a bunch of guest vocalists but not only did Genesis do an excellent job with the vocals, but also vocal manipulation software has come on in leaps and bounds in the last few years, so perhaps we'll keep it "All In the Family".
It'll come out when we all four of us find the sounds moving our hearts, and our asses!
That could be in the Fall - It could be in 2012, or beyond, if the Mayans allow us to live that long.

Are you living your dream?

Actually my dreams are usually about missing planes, forgetting houses, not buying Christmas presents till after the stores close on Christmas Eve, getting lost on a city subway system that has re-arranged itself, etc. so the answer to that question is NO.
What I'm living day-by-day, even at work, is my every whim, my deepest fantasy, my personal Yellow Brick Road -How few people can really say that, and believe it?
I am truly blessed!I will be delighted if even a little of my joy and intensity gets through to those who listen....I may not quite have reached the Emerald City just yet, but you know, it's just over the next hill...

THANK YOU SLEAZY!

Throbbing Gristle are about to embark on a mini US tour..be prepared;)

REVIEW: The Present - World I See

8.5 out of 10

It seems more and more common these days to hear bands trying to achieve an "Animal Collective sound". The Present aren't trying to sound like, ha-ha "present" day Animal Collective though, more so the young days of AC, when they were more "drone-folk". The Present are more than just "drone" though. A perfect comparison to The Present would be Jane (only tighter), mixed with a dash of Fuck Buttons and a hint of Krautrock.

This album will not be for everybody I can tell you that right now. In-fact the noises on here may be so horrifying you may feel uncomfortable or squeamish at times. Not to say that there aren't undeniably beautiful moments at all. Because there are. Under the splashes of off beat jazz drumming, dark/deep/layered/eerie "howls", constant-ringing "clanky" industrial elements, and truly "out of this world" sampling, lies a gorgeous piano drowning in a pool of reverb and echo. Honestly, this should be on Kranky.

If you like drone, and I mean really like it. You LOVE experimental music you're a huge Animal Collective/Health/Fuck Buttons/Throbbing Gristle/Jane Fan. And you don't mind the feeling of your paranoid brain melting... The Present is for you. Open it slowly.

Standout Tracks: I honestly love all of them, but check out "Love Melody".

REVIEW: Grandma - Spinach Gas Room Spaghetti Straps EP

7 out of 10
For those of you haven't listened to Khonnor do so right now..I'll wait...

..

...

..Ok, you're back! You went right??
Amazing isn't he? Khonnor was the first artist I discovered on Type Records. Mix "hazey" electronics, loud fuzz, and quite/laid-back indie style vocals. It's pretty/lush/emotional "Indie Electronica".

Grandma is a "secret" side project of Khonnor. You can download most of the EP's for FREE, as well as MANY other artists, from the terrific "Monotonik" label! Grandma is a slightly different direction for Khonnor. But you can still get glimmers of the haze underneath mass amounts of Drum and Bass/IDM/"Glitchy peppiness".

Spinach Gas Room Spaghetti Strap is an IDM album great for a cold winter's day.
Think Aphex Twin "Selected Ambient Works" meets acoustic glitch. Seriously, it's free, what are you waiting for?

Standout Tracks: Sandy Point, Strawberry Rhubarb Oppai

Sunday, February 8, 2009

REVIEW: Die Form - Duality

8.5 out 0f 10
Do you remember that scene in The Fifth Element when that lady sang "operatic" style over some orchestration and "funky" electronics? If you're like me, and you do remember that, you were probably left with wanting more. The idea of mixing something in the music world with such "high class" over a modern/pop "flare" such as electronics or even rock music is intriguing to me.

On Duality, Die Form's third release, Philippe Fichot perfects his unique art from of mixing modern electronic/industrial landscapes, dramatic strings/synths, perverse sexuality and yes, Gregorian, or "operatic" style vocals. Duality mixes all of these elements so perfectly it's no wonder I believe this album to be one of the crowning achievements of the Gothic/Industrial scene.

If you're at all an Industrial/Goth fan I would consider this release ESSENTIAL. If you're at all a fan of music with strong dramatic elements give Die Form a whirl. Turn off the lights, burn some candles, and prepare to isolate yourself from the world. Die Form is more than just music, or an artistic statement. Die Form is "seraphic" imagination with contemporary elements as seen through the eyes of Marquis de Sade.

Standout Tracks: ALL OF THEM. Do yourself a favor and check out Die Form's entire catalogue...

REVIEW: Telefon Tel Aviv - Immolate Yourself

8 out of 10

Telefon Tel Aviv are an ever changing machine. Their first album, "Fahrenheit Fair Enough", was "deep-subbed" glitch IDM brilliance, their second, "Map Of What Is Effortless", was R & B/IDM orchestrated beauty, and now on "Immolate Yourself", their last "official" release with original members, they go Shoegaze. Actually, when track 1, "The Birds", starts up, you will wonder "is this Ulrich Schnauss' "Goodbye Pt.2"?

I could easily see how this album is gonna have tons of "mixed" reviews all across the board. But I think this was one of the releases they were always meant to release. The production is solid as usual, the music writing capability has been raised a bar, and the landscapes they create are terrific. I think most Telefon Tel Aviv fans will be complaining about the lack of "IDM" on this release. But what I think TTA fans need to remember is that they are more than just "IDM producers" they are "brilliant sound sculptors" afraid of no genre. The beauty of Immolate Yourself is undeniable.

Every time this band releases a new album they have a new direction. Judging by how great this album is I will forever be curious as to what the "next direction" would have been for them. I'm not sure what my favorite Telefon Tel Aviv album is, maybe "Fahrenheit..", but I thoroughly believe this album is just as great as their previous albums, but different too. This will for sure be a contender for "Best Albums Of 2009". This is Shoegaze with an "electro" style approach. If you are at all a fan of any form of electronic music, or Shoegaze/Dream Pop check this album out, if you haven't done so already. And then go back and collect the rest of this band's short, but INCREDIBLY impressive, catalogue. R.I.P. Charlie Cooper, your legacy has left a permanent impact on me and my ears.

Standout Tracks: The Birds, Helen Of Troy, Mostly Translucent, Stay Away From Being Maybe, Made A Tree On The Wold, Your Every Idol, Immolate Yourself

REVIEW: Ratatat - Mirando

6.5 out of 10
Find it here.

I don't consider myself a huge Ratatat fan. I dig their music, but sometimes it can be "too simple" for me, I think. I'm not really sure what it is about them that just doesn't "wow" me. Either way, I bought this album for the Animal Collective remix. Which takes a 4 minute indie-pop electronic song and transforms it into a "10-minute-long trance-induced electro-dance drone delight".

If you're a fan of either Ratatat or Animal Collective I would see no reason why you wouldn't want to own this. If you're curious about some decent indie electronic up beat music check out Ratatat.

Standout Tracks: Both. But mainly the Animal Collective remix:)

REVIEW: Ben Benjamin - The Many Moods Of Ben Benjamin Vol. 1.5

7 out of 10

To those of you who don't know me I've long considered myself an "obsessive" Ghostly Records fan. I love nearly everything the label puts out. When I first started getting into the label I started at the beginning of their catalogue. One of those earlier releases was "Specifics" by Midwest Product. If you haven't heard Midwest Product you must. I believe almost anyone could get into them. An "almost" Weezer meets Kraftwerk kind of dealy...

Ben Benjamin is one of the founding members of Midwest Product. He is somewhat of a genius when it comes to writing incredibly simple, but catchy songs with his mix of indie pop, surf rock, electronic, and kraut-rock like sensibility.

This is the second solo release from Ben Benjamin, first one being "The Many Moods Of .. Vol. 1", and I think it's tighter, and more "put together". It may only be an ep, but ep's are what people release because they had about 4-7 "extra(terrific)" tracks that were left over from previous albums.

This may be one of the best Ghostly releases in the past few years. Mix upbeat "happy" electronics, "surf-rock guitar anthems", great poppy vocals, hip-hop/pop drum beats, and "bouncy" bass lines. Good stuff..can't wait for Vol. 2..?

Standout Tracks: All 5 tracks bring their own unique flare to this ep, so ALL OF THEM.