by: Brayan Magdaleno
Menace Ruine - The Die is Cast [Alien8 Recordings]
So, when I saw this album I kinda freaked out a little (okay, a lot). Menace Ruine's previous release, Cult of Ruins, gets a lot of play on my show. It was an amazing mix of black metal and noise. Well this time around things have changed. Menace Ruine have set out to make a medieval concept album. The shrieking incoherent vocals have been replaced by more melodic vocals. Gone are the blast beats, now we have more somber martial percussion. There is still a lot of drone and feedback and noise, but it's not as overpowering. This album is a lot different, but it is still completely amazing.
Aidan Baker and Tim Hecker - Fantasma Parastasie [Alien8 Recordings]
This album consists of 7 "movements" on 66 tracks. Yes, that's right, 66 TRACKS! Basically it goes like this 1-10, 11-21, 22-32, 33-43, 44-54, 55-65, 66. With the last movement being the only one on a single track. This is an interesting concept, but it might be kind of a pain for us. That being said, this really is a great album. Here we have Aidan Baker, of Nadja, who makes a lot of doom and drone with guitars and Tim Hecker who makes a lot of ambient experimental with electronics. This albums is pretty much one piece with several movements. Each movement presents a shift in the feel and sound of the album. It starts out pretty intense with 'Phantom on a Pedestal'. A lot of guitar feedback, with drone, and synths with distortion. Then is slows down a bit and becomes a little more ambient and subdued in 'Hymn to the Idea of Night'. 'Auditory Spirits' has more melodic guitars with some nice ambient electronics. 'Skeleton Dance' is layers of distorted guitars. 'Gallery of the Invisible Woman' gets pretty dark with great guitar drone. 'Dream of the Nightmare' pulls us out with more ambient electronics. The last movement 'Fantasma-Parastasie' is pretty much drone with some weird glitch and fuzz weaving in and out.
Birdsongs of the Mesozoic - Dawn of the Cycads [Cuneiform]
These songs were recorded from when I was about 1 to just before my 5th birthday. That's fucking insane! This is a 2-disc compilation of albums by Birdsongs of the Mesozoic that were originally released by Ace of Hearts Records between 1983 and 1987. If I had to classify this as any genre it'd probably be free-form-classical-art-rock. The band consists of 3 piano/keyboard/synth players and 1 guitar player. Plus a drum machine and a ton of other weird instruments. Some of the tracks are very eloquent piano pieces while others just go bat-sh*t crazy with everything. They even to a pretty crazy cover of the Rocky and Bullwinkle theme song. There is a lot of really great and weird and interesting stuff on these albums.
Jenks Miller - Approaching the Invisible Mountain [New American Folk Hero / Holidays for Quince]
This album is all guitar. Just one guitar. One very well played beautifully sounding guitar. Jenks Miller also plays as Horseback. Though that is a lot more psychedelic and drone, but this is just straight up guitar playing. I find it to be very calm and soothing.
Brain Sucking Peanunanners - The Meta Mega [Melon Expander]
You guys! YOU GUYS! Check this out! What we have here is a 7 and 9 year-old making some amazing and weird bent electronic music. Of course they had help from Mitchell Brown (who's CD I'm also adding). But pretty much all Mr. Brown did was provide the instruments and record. All the vocals are provided by 7 year-old Sienna. She doesn't really sing, it's more spoken word, but it's interesting hearing her tell stories and jokes as only a 7 year-old can. Plus there's usually some distortion or effect on her vocals. All of the music is created using bent electronics, homemade equipment and synths. It's all ambient and glitchy. The sounds is definitely unique.
Mitchell Brown - Celadonia [Melon Expander]
Mitchell Brown has a countless number of toys and gadgets in his arsenal. With them he creates some really great experimental electronic music. I would probably call this IDM. He doesn't create electronic dance music, he's making electronic sound pieces.