Narrow-Minded Metalhead Reviews Experimental Music

Heptaedium – A M E N

a1822716383_10Heptaedium is best known for mixing metal, djent, breakcore, game music and French madness. 2018 saw a pure Djent album in The Great Herald of Misery, it is only logical there’s a pure breakcore album too! I’m much more of a breakcore fan than of Djent, best of all A M E N is name your price/free download in Bandcamp.

A M E N is basically Venetian Snares worship without the neoclassical influences, darker beats, a pinch of metal and a few below the belt jokes. Very close to Detrimentalist (2008) era. It is bursting with short experiments of different electronic genres, most of them very successfully and imaginatively executed.

A M E N is at its best when its not trying to be funny and is satisfyingly complex. The too much repeating clips of  S i s l o v e m e  and  L o g i s t i c  get tiresome but in  A c i d ‘ n’ S e x  one could expect the porn movie clips to be funny, but they are not. The composition is so frigging dark and horror-like the clips come across as disturbing, awesome.  S i s l o v e m e  is really imaginative and has one of the strongest breaks of the album.

L e a v e  is like Heptaedium’s version of Kétsarkú Mozgalom (Venetian Snares – Rossz Csillag Alatt Született, 2005), with a sad melodramatic female narrator. The beats of the first half of  L e a v e  are so frigging strong. It even has some Gabber destruction, extremely violent beats. The end of  B o u l e m a g i q u e  has another particularly good short experiment, groovy outro that resembles of driving music breakbeat/synthwave or something!

Aaron Funk might have gotten bored of this sound on his newest record but I sure haven’t. Good shit!

8+/10

Free download in bandcamp:
https://heptaedium.bandcamp.com/album/a-m-e-n

Sea of Poppies – Sea of Poppies

a3018950448_10Sea of Poppies is best described as experimental harsh noise. The submission notes of the first album of Sea of Poppies explained that the artist had a hard time with health that led to experiments with some analogue stuff to let out some steam. A form of catharsis. The analogue experiments also make the release sounds oldschoolish, pleasantly non-digital.

Usually when a first-timer makes an experimental album, painting or a poem to help with the healing process it’s value is merely for the healing itself. It can be very effective as a sort of therapy but when a 50 year old truck driver picks up the brush first time since being in primary school and makes a cubist painting to battle his depression, the results are often a bit funny. But since it’s therapy you aren’t even allowed to laugh at it! Sad but true. I’ve found so many “I did this to recover from a problem x”-releases that are very unlikely to interest anyone in multiple art forms it’s not even funny. But hey, whatever works for ones recovery right. Luckily Sea of Poppies seems to have ambition beyond the healing process!

Even though the artist explained himself to be a new noise artist, his bandcamp lists Sea of Poppies as a sister project to Deprivation Chamber that released an ep in 2010. Maybe that explains the well-formed sound.

About the tracks

When the first track kicks in, I start to quickly yearn for tempo switches though. The constant jarring tempo may be cathartic to most harsh noise lovers, but I tend to find it tiresome. Luckily second track has a pleasant watery background that breaks the tempo artificially. A high whistling sound does get a tad annoying but it has a bit of build up during the process of the track.

0013635072_10Third track is the highlight of the release, clearly the most varied piece. The standard tempo has altercations that break it and at 1.30 the main theme is also changed completely. All this flows together and sounds natural, very nice! The next theme builds up and has more changes, but it takes till 8 minute before shit all the sudden gets really loose with analogue jerks. Few times one can even nod your head to rhythmic changes. Does 9.20 have a modulation hook? A modulation hook in noise? Hah!

All three tracks are named “untitled” so I took the liberty of renaming them stupidly to differentiate them for each other (and for the lols):

  1. Just another cathartic harsh noise track
  2. Watery electronics
  3. Nearly rhythmic modulations

End notes

In the submission text the artist also explained that he used different methods to make each track to have an own personality but also to learn something new. Gladly it is apparent; all three different tracks have a different identity and sound. I find the last track alone interesting enough to be eager to listen this release from time to time after this review is done. Good stuff!

Free download in bandcamp: https://seaofpoppies.bandcamp.com/album/sea-of-poppies (you can also buy the release as a cassette for a very affordable price).

Lauren Bousfield – Fire Songs – Music Quickies of sorts

a4189338573_10Nero’s Day At Disneyland’s breakcore/gamemusic mesh developed into more artistic and feminine, even electronic indie-pop flirting Lauren Bousfield. BUT the 2017 EP Fire Songs takes a step back towards Nero’s sprained breakcore instrumental music, the electronic indie-pop is largely gone. Is IDM (intelligent dance music) the correct term? What a douche genre name that is by the way. 19 minutes long Fire Songs EP seems like easily the best Lauren Bousfield release. It is a quick starter too, I was really digging it immediately on the first listen. There’s way too little love for EP’s in the world…

Little Half Dead Fire Exits Hi and Piles of Black Dresses… are A-fucking class melody spectaculars with heaviness on beats too. Little Half Dead Fire Exists Hi is almost a melancholic piece, remember the time you got badly burned and were forced to crowdfund your medical bill? Those were the days…

No One3 and CirlGocks (with Omiinindustries, collaboration?) are a step into more atmospheric electro. Girlcocks, i mean Cirlgocks, even does rave beats. The beginning of the album is a strange deja vu “I know this melody from somewhere on her releases, is it a remix?”. Creative continuity of sorts, I dig that. It’s kinda fresh to hear familiar parts in a new context after a long pause from Lauren Bousfield’s music. Here I am on the 4th listen of Fire Songs, 3rd in a row and the album developed into really fucking good. The glitching is gradually getting more pronounced on Lauren’s releases, there’s really a lot of that and it works wonderfully.

Personal crisis often makes musicians give the best out of themselves and it seems this fire certainly did that with Lauren Bousfield. Can we get more good musicians burnt up a bit? Anyone? Please? I’ll pay for the gas.

Best of all, Fire Songs is on Fire Sales! The release is pay what you want in bandcamp! Free download if you so wish:
https://laurenbousfieldanyev3r.bandcamp.com/album/fire-songs

Bloque del Sur, BVBEL, Kaschade, Samuel Bone, Fross – Small free download artists – Quick reviews

Bloque del Sur – Periferia

a0021724405_10Groovy easily accessible electro with samples and obscure voice clips. What would industrial be without voice clips! Periferia has both lighter and darker beats and melodies.

The artist describes Periferia as a fresh approach to EBM/industrial, taking elements from 1982-88 golden era and adding tropical bass influences. I’ll be the first to admit that the “golden era of industrial” and “tropical bass” are completely foreign to me. The band hails from Argentina which may explain the tropical but also why my girlfriend without knowing anything of the artist commented about the “weird latino music”! I honestly didn’t even hear the latino influence on Periferia!

Megaperiferia first appeared as a monotonous track but upon checking the video it started to actually benefit from the monotone atmosphere that welcomes new elements sparingly but interestingly. The starting Diagrama is refreshingly more polymorphous with all kinds of textures appearing in the first few minutes.

The subtle background melodies help a lot and affect spontaneous headnodding. Intercommunicador is refreshingly more exotic. I liked Bloque del Sur’s down-to-earth approach upon submitting the release and thus decided to share these few words.

In total an enjoyable small release which I’ve been listening the most of the 5 releases in this post.

Bandcamp:
https://pakapirecords.bandcamp.com/album/bloque-del-sur-periferia
Video of Megaperiferia
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kZEyxEfsKI


BVBEL – PRDX2

Cover (1)Beats, the eternal problem. There’s great rap lyricists with lacking backgrounds, then there’s great backgrounds with lacking lyrics. Where does BVBEL come in then? He produces pretty damn stellar backgrounds, but unfortunately without any lyrics at all. Even though it sounds good there’s definitely the vocals missing.

For the most part the beats are pretty memorable. I see no reason why they wouldn’t be good enough for a rap release. The production values aren’t huge but there’s a nice glitchy atmosphere that makes up for the lack of booming. Some clever hooks like the 2nd track 不要 (English translation: Do Not). Most beats that I hear I end up liking a lot less than BVBEL’s. I could love this release with the right lyrical substance.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro792Bvbel-Prdx
BVBEL seems to be very productive as his bandcamp is filled with releases:
https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/
On quick listen tracks like DV-useless show a lot of melodic potential: https://bvbeltrill.bandcamp.com/track/dv-useless


Kaschade – Performance

kaschade-entity-beHei, I heard you came looking for semi-improvised avant-garde saxophone electronic ambient noise, right? Grab Performance immediately! The rest of us, we might just want to take a peek now and then behind a safe distance. Listening 53 minutes in one go without finding other means of entertainment at the same time proved to be quite a task. Even with skipping the 8+ minute harsh noise closer, Golden Balls. But man, is the cover art beautiful!

I’ve had my chaotic noise phase but usually I dig structure. In semi improvised music there tends to be less of structure. But there’s plenty of sound to keep interest up in Kaschade’s Performance: cascades of whizzes, booms, knocks, scratches and most of all ambients. Usually there’s quite a steady beat or a coming and going melodic pattern or certain sound, so it’s not like there’s no structure. There’s definitely an underlying structural sense, but it’s in there deep. Also the organic saxophone adds plenty of value. It’s an interesting ride from psychological spacehorror to psychedelic intergalactic procession.

The spacey feel is ever so present; it feels there’s a vast blackness but it’s not overbearing. The tension is psychological, no sudden senseless loud sounds.

The description at the weblabel Entity’s site is very fitting: “Indeed Performance might well be the soundtrack to an imaginary film, perhaps in the style of film noir or a collection of surreal scenes, as experimental soundeffects produce a constant string of plottwists while spiraling through a wide range of lasting impressions.” If Alejandro Jodorowsky had ever finished his Dune film adaptation, the music could have been something similar to Kaschade’s Performance!

Bandcamp: https://kaschade.bandcamp.com/album/performance-2016
Direct zip download link: https://archive.org/compress/ntt084/formats=VBR%20MP3,JPEG,ARCHIVE%20BITTORRENT,METADATA
Entity Weblabel: http://www.entity.be/entity/


Samuel Bone – Fluctuous

A-SmallCoverFluctuous
marked as obsolete except in archaic usage.
a.
Watery (obs.).

b. Full of, or resembling waves, lit. and fig.

Urban dictionary:
Fluctuous
used to describe a nice ass.

Experimental electronic with solid rhythmic background. Beeps and twerks (not the butt-kind) keep appearing. Quite enjoyable really, some tracks are surprisingly quiet in the mix. Especially Hrathlemore really needs some volume finetuning by the listener to be enjoyable. Like water Fluctuous keeps spilling out of my hands listen after listen.

The release does bring watery substances in mind, first track Drool Cam starts with water burbling sounds.  The next track Chonie has the best melody with a keyboard sound that sounds to be coming from just below the water surface. Uhl is nicely relaxing when Kringle Kan Surplus is really a distorted affair nearing noise. Hrathlemore is quiet, so is the title track, Fluctuous but it is also less noisy, more rhythmic and nicely minimal electro. Quite pleasant really.

Free download: https://archive.org/details/siro793SamuelBone-Fluctous


Fross – Sombrio

a0453013625_10Fross, from Costa Rica brought some melodic dark ambient with misty woods and mountains to my e-mail box. In the start of his 2016 record Sombrio, there’s something that reminds me of Agalloch. Ilusión Distante also has a hint of low bitrate and minimal ambient in it’s gentle chords. Desolacion is still melancholy but as the album progresses further the last few tracks are quite oppressive.

In total Sombrio lacks depth though. There are some great somber passages like (Desvanecerse) En la Oscuridad. I can hear twinkling and gentle noises in the back that aren’t there but in my head they’d fit there so perfectly.

The use of organic instruments like violin and guitar is most welcome but it does not have much dramatic impact.

The first listen was surprisingly tense as I was waiting for the organic instruments to take the lead and on Petricor I was finally rewarded. The echoing guitar and background blooming sounds great but keeps minimal.

The tension keeps the listen interesting and mood surprisingly fluid. Dark ambient in its oppressive forms is not really my thing but luckily Sombrio is split into airy elements that work well as a gentle background.

Girlfriend’s comment on El Abismo: Submarines and death.

I picked Fross to review by random but also because I liked his approach, not demanding a review but asking if I happened to have the time!

Owls – The Night Stays

mi0003157707Owls’ 2011 album, The Night Stays starts with a bang. The first two tracks Hide and Seek and The Night Stays unite bass-rich downtempo with intense atmosphere and acoustic guitar & keys lusciously but most of the rest album easily sinks into just rather pleasing somber soundwave. If the Night Stays seems redundant or hard to grasp after the surprise of such captivating dark beats wears out, you need to give it some time.

It took about a year’s pause for the album to grow from tasty bits to a rather fantastic entity. Yet it is undeniable that the tastiest bits are served in the start. Title track’s luscious distortion and bright xylophone, bass backdrop and gloomy yet blackly humorous Tony Wakeford lyrics explore such depths of brain activity you’d be surprised.

Tony Wakeford’s vocals which always divide opinions fit the pace so well you come to hope Sol Invictus had more electronics. The lyrics are strangely more exposed than in Sol Invictus and as strong as one can expect from a Wakeford record. Occasional very neofolkish guitarwork commemorates the dark toned compositions. I have been told the genres in question can be classified as trip hop or downtempo.

Owls is indeed not just Tony Wakeford, but a threesome, the electronicswork of Eraldo Bernocchi and Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari cannot be underestimated. Both also have a gazillion other projects including Somma, Obake, O.R.k (Pat Mastelotto :O). and collaborations for example with Mick Harris (of Napalm Death), Ephel Duath and Eivind Aarset (a man with another gazillion projects).

284136_236698689684187_7689329_n

Owls live @ Wave-Gotik-Treffen, Leipzig, 2011.

Perhaps the reason for the slow reception of The Night Stays is the difficult track order. It kicks right in but it takes until the 8th track We Took This Land to find a really tight footing again. A fragile guitar driven track that portrays great nihilistic lyrics about American oppression and breaks loose to a distorted and powerful chorus:
o, we took this land with bribes and murder,
and we will keep it too
don’t pretend to be so shocked,
it’s what the right (or white?) men do [i may have misheard some of this part]

In the middle part perhaps the brightest glimmer is the the glorious end to the repetitive Come Back, even though I have no idea what they are singing about. Strange Kind of Beauty is as titled, a touching slow burner which creates magical twinkling atmosphere in minimalistic ambientish/neofolkish background.

With Tony Wakeford’s solo album Not All Of Me Will Die, The Night Stays fits to A-category only shallowly under the best bits of Sol Invictus.

8½/10

Salomè Lego Playset – So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming

PrintWhen you pick a free download post-rock album from an owner of a weblabel who also released it, more the surprise it is to feel enthralled almost immediately. But when the second guitar melody of L’animale morente meanders in one can’t help but feel encompassed. If this is not enough, blissful saxophone comes in to complement this lulling tune.

Salomè Lego Playset’s So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming is a dark themed lull headed by frontman Nicola Boari. It meanders in terrains that fit right into my Finnish melancholy conception. It visits experimental grounds as well, but mostly through field recording sounding ambient that adds to the atmosphere.

The quality of tracks does go down after the brilliant starting trinity L’animale morente, Heimarmene and Humanity and Paper Balloons. The next few still have some serious merit but are in professional terms a tad boring. The Fountain and Il Deserto e le Fortezze are dark as opposed to starting three are melancholic. After slow and solid start The Gorge yonders welcome variation as heaviness but is the saxophone a bit off-key?

The last track Dolce Mattatoio is hard to grasp with its 20 minute length and lots of field recording and noise elements. But it doesn’t bother the big picture as its the last track. I have a great affection to last tracks that end with 10 minutes of meaningless humming leading into a hidden track! Dolce Mattatoio cannot be called meaningless humming though, it is a vastly experimental track with a lot of noise and field recording stapled together with familiar instruments from previous tunes. All in all, quite a staggering piece and very much unlike the rest of album.

So Much Was Lost In The Process Of Becoming is a professional sounding indie record with satisfyingly crunchy and organic sounds. The vocals are very delicate but they work in bands favour.

The experience was deepened further by this heartbreaking official statement that Salomè Lego Playset released a few months ago:
“2011. 5 years have passes and they couldn’t feel heavier. Salomè dismantled and so has a part of me gone forever. I honestly can’t say what I’ve done in the past 5 years since. Nothing. This lies as testimony of what I once was and what I once believed in. How long will this go on for. How long do I have left. Should anyone notice, listen, that’s somebody else he will find.”

The statement describes some of the creation pains well and I can only say that Spettro records has seemed to publish quite a lot of albums in the past years. Most of us do not even release one great album in our lifetimes  ;).

8/10

Free download:
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Salom_Lego_Playset/So_Much_Was_Lost_In_The_Process_Of_Becoming/
or
https://salomelegoplayset.bandcamp.com/album/so-much-was-lost-in-the-process-of-becoming
Salome Lego playset info & discography:
http://www.spettrorec.com/index.php?/artists/salome-lego-playset/

Narrow-minded Metalhead reviews experimental music, why?

Being an avid underground rock/metal listener and huge fan in finding new music and genres I stumbled to TRASHFUCK Records, RedSK and their noise in 2009. A lot of their releases at best make me bored, scared and entertained at the same time. This impressed me to try out more of the weblabel scene and introduced me to Sirona Records’ Arnaud. I decided to start reviewing electronic music records after I realized I’m really not sure what is going on in half of Sironas’ releases.

I’m trying to give my humble opinions on some new music, whose genres, I may or may not have any familiarity, but sure thing is they are far from my normal music grounds. I have a feeling, if by chance I happen to stumble to albums with genre titles like “rave” “deathcore” or “techno”, I might have a hard time saying a single positive thing, but nevermind that. You can always bypass it by the fact that I’m just narrow-minded metalhead reviewing experimental music.

When I stared this review serie in 2011 I did not have many electronic artists which I was a fan of. Since that, the number has increased considerably.