Since there is not a lot of NEW MUSIC - here's some music that may be NEW (and adventurous) to you.
As you board, remember to buckle up. Unfamiliar territory lies ahead. However, we promise a smooth landing.
DUMA [LP](Nyege Nyege Tapes)
From Uganda, the most brutal, percussive, shrieking-from-the-depths-of-existential hell album you will hear this year. Like Mr.Bungle, the Kenyan duo Duma comes at you from that Room 101-claustrophobia whose screams haunt you after they have dissipated into the air. However, when their blastbeats become even more pummeling ("Lionsblood,") Duma's metal roots give them the cojones to blow your doors off with their primal scream from within. In their Coil-with-vocals-by-Captain Howdy-phantasmagoria ("Uganda With Sam,") the machine-gun fire choruses build rhythmic patterns around this obscured yowl - until the end when in their most Napalm Death-ish manner, Duma finally scream a bloodcurdling "Why?!" right into your face. All reviews should be the split screen of your face right before you pressed PLAY and right after the album ended. A fascinating debut.
CARL STONE - Stolen Car [LP FORTHCOMING](Unseen Worlds)
If you have ever thrilled yourself at the sound a CD makes as it fast-forwards through its tracks arranging random bits of information into a new linear sequence, "Stolen Car" will make you feel even more elated. Stone composes his music around more than the glitches you hear today. This is like sampling, but without the heavy identifiability. "Rinka" takes the "Masterpiece Theatre" theme and makes its disparate pieces into a bed. What is even more entrancing is when he actually overlays vocals that match the bed underneath on "Bojuk." "Stolen Car" is a more "relaxed" glitch album (think Portishead but in the higher frequencies and speeds) finding strange melodies and what can only be described as the evolution of sound.
THE DWARFS OF EAST AGOUZA - The Green Dogs of Dahshur [LP](Akuphone)
In order to have "trance," you must have "transformation." It sounds so simple and even a little cliched. However, "Dahshur" will enlighten your path. With their buzzy, wild-eyed melange of Captain Beefheart, Sun Ra, and The Master Musicians of Jajouka, DEA comes at you with a quiet start and never forces any of their musical moves. To be as abstract as it is on paper (and first, second, third listens even,) "Dahshur" is largely about levels of musical organization. Breakdown a track like the opener "The Black Sun of Intent" and you consume all you need to understand DEA. Saxophones are run through pedals that give them unnatural oscillations of vibrato. Guitars are played percussively where they sound like bumblebees fluttering around your ears. And the percussion is densely mixed but matched enough in its patterns to sound lighter than it would be in person. Seventeen minutes of the Sun Ra-ish peak and bliss of "Organism 46-B" is purely here to experience, while the most frenetic moments of the second half should really just be seen as passages to a higher level of both listening and comprehension. "Dahshur" works best because while it is a "Free" album per se, it never dives into the realm of two completely different parts ping-ponging against each other in your headspace. Instead, it always maintains its single focus - a noisy, hair-raising one at times - but so completely worth it.
GORDON KOANG - Unity [LP](Music In Exile AU/Light In The Attic)
From the Upper Nile in South Sudan, Koang's music radiates light and positivity. The drums are insistent but never intrusive. "Mal Mi Goa" and many of the songs are buoyed by a form of subtle marching beat, while the bass roams a bit but always hits that downbeat. The consistency of the rhythm section frees up the thom, a unique kora-like instrument that resonates but rarely rings out. So, when Koang intones his Nuer lyrics in his pan-African style (especially in tacet on "Y Dah,") the pair and their phrasing almost sound Asian. Working with Australian indie rockers in a Melbourne studio could make Koang sound a bit like a fish-out-of-water, but "Unity" is Koang shining through with these songs of beauty in the face of horror.
BEATRICE DILLON - Workaround [LP](PAN)
On Beatrice Dillon's magical album, you must actually pay attention in order for it to cast its spell. If you must take the easy way in, the icy beauty of "Square Fifths" is most representative of the trip you are about to take. So, please allow me to attempt to deter this and encourage you to dive in headfirst and listen from start-to-finish. There is no novelty in Dillon's work - there is a specific purpose. "Workaround" is taking most of the same elements and even the same BPM and discovering how many permutations one can derive from what on its surface could be easily perceived as mundane. Dillon's rhythms (fixed at 150BPM) are subject to evolution. The "Workaround" pieces "One"-"Ten" and "Bass," are subject to looping upon themselves. Dillon, a devotee of club music, has discovered how to blend her changes where you think there is no difference. Furthermore, by keeping her rhythms somewhat tactile (feel free to play along wherever you are,) there is no expectation for it to change except when she collaborates with a plethora of different instruments and styles. The tracks of "Workaround" generally attack up front to draw you in and then gently feed you the remainder of their parts. Listening to the chord changes and horns (!) on "Workaround Two" is a study in opposites as Dillon's sharp, staccato beats are made less edgy by the long, legato horn lines. The slightly more insistent "Workaround Three" is immediately more playful and its emotion crests on its chord changes. In fact, by the time we arrive at "Workaround Eight," the tension is immediate but Dillon's accents and newly chosen sounds continue to soften any rigidity. In the end, I believe that to be the purpose. In the late-Eighties or Nineties, a DJ (for example, Roni Size) would have taken a hard, striated beat and pushed it hard with the addition of more sounds. By the time we get to Dubstep, the beat is so hard - you are literally craving the release. Therefore, the famed "drop" made the whole track like a rollercoaster ride: 3/4 of it was building up and up and up, 1/4 was screaming downward before grinding to a halt. "Workaround" remedies that problem by functioning as a whole, in any series or combination. You could even click between tracks and make a "Workaround of Workaround." There is no Acid House peak. There is no Blue Room/Ambient low. Consistent. Elastic. Elegantly simple. With just one requirement: sit and LISTEN.
CHARLES WEBSTER - Decision Time [LP](Dimensions UK)
British Electronic synthesist/composer Charles Webster was heavily inspired by the initial structure and sound of Chicago House. "Decision Time" represents a form of maturation for that sound. The heavy beat has grown softer but still moves air. The percussion samples are less obvious and more present to accent either offbeats or chord changes that shift songs into other gears. Webster's greatest trick is that his music is not machine-like. The descent of "I Wonder Why" into dreamy Detroit-ish "Strings of Life" territory is a marvel. Also amazing, is the way the slower textures on"This Is Real" find a Portishead-ish medium but avoid sounding derivative while illustrating the connection between that music and the House music that he loves and played for years. I hesitate to call this album "Deep House" because it never goes subterranean or even totally Ambient. The numerous vocalists also offer different shading and mood to their tracks. "Decision Time" is a marvelous interconnection of classic House, its history, progeny, and a whole new beginning.
There will be a small sampling of music reviews here next week. So stay tuned!
Our weekly playlist for your pleasure. It is a little reissue heavy, but there are still some choice new selections for you to enjoy. Most of the back half even works nicely with warm beverages and blinking lights. Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us here at TBONES!
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