Most Frequently Listened To Albums
Hal Rammel Like Water Tightly Wound [Crouton]
As a designer of musical instruments, other than Hans Reichel perhaps, Hal Rammel has few equals. Already, he gave birth to the triolin, bibliolin, snath, aerolin and the hydro-aerolin. The instrument he plays on his latest 10" LP is a C-shaped, wooden block that has metal spokes attached to the top. This is top-bottom innovation from start to finish. It comes off as adventurous music of the best kind. The record is beautifully packaged inside of a turn of the century paper sleeve. Accompanied by a photograph of his invention and a detailed description of the process, it comes as stunningly packaged as the music contained inside. In a nutshell, an instant classic record.
Various Artists Folk and Pop Music of Myanmar [Burma] Vol. 3
Music of Nat Pwe [Sublime Frequencies]
Ghost spirits called Nats are commonplace in Myanmar [formerly Burma]. Many people believe in these spirits that a long time ago became historical figures. A large number of these met their end through tragic or violent deaths. Apparently, these spirits have a power to either help or devastate the lives of those who recognize them. Pwe is a ceremony that is held with specific purpose of appeasing Nats. Don't expect any soothing, melodramatic ceremonies on this release. What you'll get are quite intense, dramatic incantations. With corralling vocals and complex rhythmic patterns and mostly percussion mayhem, the music is rich in flavour and appealing in a strange way. Mandatory listening.
Danny Norbury Dusk [Static Caravan]
Described as "21 minutes of instrumental sherbet dib dab" by his label, UK native Danny Norbury is shrouded in mystery. Considering that the details of his life are horridly lapse, we're left with the music at hand. Dusk is composed of six pieces of drab [though never lifeless] string and piano based music that is lovely [though never flowery] and intensely enjoyable. In that Prozac kind of way, Norbury comes across as a musician with distinct visions of clouded, autumn days that last forever; of flowers that have perished due to incoming winter; of birds that have all flown south. Like a premonition or a long-lost memory, Dusk is haunting in its totality and its purpose right here and now. Essential listening. Beg, buy or borrow a copy now!
Ass Ass [Headspin]
With a name like Ass, you're bound to gain some attention. Are you a porn star or are you simply using the moniker to gain notoriety? Whatever the case may be, multi-instrumentalist Andreas Söderström has hit all the right notes. To call this album low-key would be dead on. By the end of the record, you simply won't believe everything Söderström knows in terms of music he taught himself. Absolutely thrilling in its ability to mesmerize. Ass gets a perfect ten.
Isaac Babel The Sin of Jesus [hathut]
Ukrainian poet, Isaac Babel's short story The Sin of Jesus is one intense and very humane drama. Set in Russia, the narrative involves a pregnant Arina, an angel and a God that makes some grave mistakes. Performed by Ensemble für Neue Musik Zürich, The Sin of Jesus is a heart-wrenching tale. Under the watchful conduction of Lukas Langlotz, an eight-piece ensemble delivers a petrifying tale in the most direct way possible. Certain parts are so intense, it becomes a challenge to listen intently. Sudden bursts of rising force are then replaced by Schurch's whisper-quiet vocals and all becomes more bearable again. A thrilling performance, one that only gets richer and more fulfilling with time.
Family Underground Salt of the Sun [Ikuisuus]
Jumping into the drone mode, Denmarks Family Underground put out a very solid release with Salt of the Sun. Divided up into three twenty minute tracks, the band goes from solid drone, to noisy drone, to soothing drone and finally ending up at excruciating high-gloss, past-11-on-the-dial drone. Equal amounts of guitars, deep, bass-full lines and persistently satisfying textural motifs are put out on display. Best thing is that these pieces could spread on for hours and the scene would only get better and richer. Hellish soundtrack to a trip-inducing head-game or a cavernous oratorio for a funeral. Guaranteed to satisfy both fans of drone as well as noise.
Valgeir Sigurdsson Ekvilibrium [Bedroom Community]
Having produced albums by artists as varied as Bjork and Will Oldham, Icelandic musician Valgeir Sigurdsson decided to strike out and try things on his own terms. Only the third release on his Bedroom Community imprint, Ekvilibrium is as delightful as it is confusing in every sense of that word. What the listener is treated to is a real masterpiece, underplayed and unassuming, yet breathtakingly dazzling.
People Like Us & Ergo Phizmiz Perpetuum Mobile [Soleilmoon]
There are many wieners in the world.
I've missed eating lunch today as my breakfast was large.
The dog I ate was delicious and crunchy.
The eyeballs were especially squid-like.
I love painting my nipples dark shade of green.
Farting is my comrade's favourite pastime.
When I blow my nose, I feel light-headed.
Nutritious meals taste best when you take off your pants.
Trombone sounds funny when it's played with your nose.
The sound is like that of a crazy-spun carousel.
Going around circles and circles
Is fun until you chuck-up the bacon you had for breakfast.
Fingers hurt when you sit on your hand.
Silly rhymes make no sense when you've drunk absinth.
Light a match and put the fire out.
Burn my friend, burn for the music tastes like blood mixed with honey.
Annea Lockwood Early Works 1967 82 [EM]
One of the things that excites me most about composer Annea Lockwood is her guiding principles. As she says in her own words, "I developed two guiding principles which served me well for a long time: always say 'Yes!' and when considering which idea to work on next, choose the most extreme." One can only hope the extremities on this first-rate compilation of two long-forgotten works will bring Lockwood's name to a wider audience.
Andreaz Hedén & Gösta Rundqvist If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking [Compunctio]
If solo piano records were more common, we'd probably find the cure for cancer and stop all violent conflicts worldwide. There's something unmistakably soothing and peaceful in the sound of a composed piano piece. It's as if the tickling of the ivories went directly to the person's heart and affected the deep insides. Whereas Rundqvist allotted his recital to the power of the lyrical, Hedén is much more interested in the ways that silence and pauses play in his music. Convincing at every turn, this is absolutely stunning music.