Tuesday, September 26, 2017

David Bowie - Liveandwell.com (2000)

So David Bowie is my all-time favorite artist, bar-none. He to me represents all that is good about music. If I were to list my top 20 albums, it'd be pretty boring cause there'd be at least five Bowie records in there (Aladdin Sane, Station to Station, Low, "Heroes", and Blackstar.) He is the only celebrity whose death actually sent me into mourning. Like, I cried, listened to nothing but his music, and was bummed about it for literally months afterwards. During this time, I also became utterly obsessed with Blackstar, and annoyed everyone around me by listening to it and watching its associated music videos at every opportunity.

This is all to say that I am almost too familiar with his discography, so coming across a great Bowie record that I haven't already heard is pretty goddamn rare. But that's exactly what recently happened with Liveandwell.com, a live (duh) album, recorded in 1997, that was only ever made available to BowieNet subscribers. (There's a four-track bonus disc, too, but the live part's the focus for sure.)

Half of the tracks are from Earthling, the album for which he was touring at the time Liveandwell.com was recorded. And though Earthling's dated electro production make it one of my least favorite Bowie records (meaning that I just really like it, as opposed to loving it), the problem was never with the songs, and the full-band approach and live setting really helps them songs out -- they're fleshier, jazzier, and just more fun.

The other five tracks are from 1. Outside, a misunderstood concept album written and recorded with the aid of Brian Eno and released 22 years ago yesterday [EDIT: I meant to post this yesterday and that originally read "today" but I am dumb]. Misunderstood at the time of its release, the years have been quite kind to 1. Outside, as now most Bowie fans recognize it for the knotty masterpiece that it is -- especially in light of its dark, jazz- and electro-heavy sound representing the only clear antecedent to Blackstar in Bowie's discography. Just don't ask me what the story's about. Something about a murder, a minotaur, "interest drugs," and someone named Judy? It's like Lost Highway -- the soundtrack to which, incidentally, included "I'm Deranged" -- the closer you get to understanding, the the surer you become that you will never understand.

Welp, that's what happens when I start in on Bowie, I guess. I end up with the longest writeup I've ever done on here, for a 10-track live album. Hope it was worth it!

Track listing:
1. I'm Afraid of Americans
2. The Heart's Filthy Lesson
3. I'm Deranged
4. Hallo Spaceboy
5. Telling Lies
6. The Motel
7. The Voyeur of Utter Destruction (As Beauty)
8. Battle for Britain
9. Seven Years in Tibet
10. Little Wonder
-Bonus Disc-
1. Fun (Dillinja Mix)
2. Little Wonder (Sanny Saber Dance Mix)
3. Dead Man Walking (Moby Mix 1)
4. Telling Lies (Paradox Mix)

Now, not tomorrow

Also of interest:
Gary Numan -
Living Ornaments '79 and '80 (1981)
Visage -
Visage (1980)

Chaos U.K. - Chaos U.K. (1983)

Classic debut of harsh, noise-addled street punk from Chaos U.K. One of my all-time favorite punk records. I'm particularly fond of the dark, rhythm section-heavy "The End Is Nigh" and "Victimized". I also blame this LP for my pretending to like -- and subsequently drinking way too much -- Woodchuck cider, for about six months when I was 16.

Track listing:
1. Selfish Few
2. Fashion Change
3. You'll Never Own Me (False Prophets)
4. The End Is Nigh
5. Victimized
6. Parental Love
7. Leech
8. Chaos
9. Mentally Insane
10. Urban Guerilla
11. Farmyard Boogie
12. No Security
13. What About a Future
14. Hypocrite

It's cold outside, it's cold outside

You might also like:
Rudimentary Peni -
Four EPs
H.D.Q. -
Hung, Drawn and Quartered (1985)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Paper Garden - Paper Garden (1969)

A first-rate lost gem of 60s psychedelia. Colorful and ornate -- at times to the point of cacophony -- but with tinges of darkness and paranoia lurking in the peripherals. What Sgt. Pepper's might have sounded like if The Beatles didn't have all that money and spent more time doing all the drugs that they were so fond of namedropping.

Track listing:
1. Gypsy Wine
2. Sunshine People
3. Way Up High
4. Lady's Man
5. Mr. Mortimer
6. Man Do You
7. Raining
8. I Hide
9. Raven
10. A Day

How I hate to go to bed

You would probably also like:
Gary Lewis -
Listen! (1967)
The Five Day Week Straw People -
The Five Day Week Straw People (1968)

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Paranoid - Hardcore Addict (2012) + Destroy Future Less System (2014)

Swedish raw d-beat annihilation. Gnarly-as-fuck tones, sick riffs, a redlining mixdown, and a whole lotta feedback.

Track listing:
-Hardcore Addict-
1. To Whom It May Concern
2. Never Existing
3. Af-Raid of Life
4. Shitstorm
5. Illusions
6. High-Tech Future
-Destroy Future Less System-
1. 生、被害妄想、死
2. 盲目願望
3. 世界的核破壊
4. 悪循環
5. 腐敗と強欲

End my life

You would also dig:
Gloom -
撲殺精神破綻者 (2003)
D-Clone -
Creation and Destroy (2013)

Mourning Beloveth - The Sullen Sulcus (2003)

Irish doom royalty. Melodic and crushing -- emotionally and sonically -- with a trance-like pull that only grows stronger as the album progresses.

Track listing:
1. The Words That Crawled
2. It Almost Looked Human
3. The Insolent Caul
4. Narcissistic Funeral
5. My Sullen Sulcus
6. Anger's Steaming Arrows

The knotted despair of a ravaged corpse

More along these lines:
The Slow Death -
The Slow Death (2008)
The Fall of Every Season -
Amends (2013)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ben Klock - One (2009)

First-rate minimal techno by German producer Ben Klock. How do people dance to such anxious-sounding music? If I got my heart-rate up AND these aural anxiety attacks were blasting out of the speakers -- in a dark room full of other sweaty, gyrating people, no less -- I'd probably have a goddamn heart attack.

Track listing:
1. Coney Island
2. Gooldy Sin (feat. Elif Biçer)
3. Check for Pulse
4. Underneath
5. Gloaming
6. Init One
7. Cargo
8. OK (feat. Elif Biçer)
9. In a While
10. Init Two
11. Gold Rush
12. Grip
13. Thirteen Rounds

No money

Also listen to:
Ellen Allien -
Stadtkind (2001)
Lawrence -
Lawrence (2002)

Jocelyn Montgomery with David Lynch - Lux Vivens (The Music of Hildegard von Bingen) (1998)

Julee Cruise - Floating into the Night (1989) + The Voice of Love (1993)
Chrysta Bell - This Train (2011)

Haunting, centuries-old vocal works sung with reverence and grace by UK musician Jocelyn Montgomery, and accompanied by cavernous dark ambience, lush strings, and more, courtesy of one Mr. David Lynch.

Track listing:
1. Flame and Vision
2. Sapientie
3. O Tu Illustrata
4. Et Ideo
5. Viridissima
6. Battle and Aftermath
7. Gloria Patri
8. Lux Vivens
9. Deus Enim
10. Clarissima
11. Orzchis
12. Caritas
13. Kyrie
14. Hodie
15. Alleluia

Imprisoned in flesh

You should also hear:
Jocelyn Pook -
Deluge (1997)
Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy -
Immortal Memory (2004)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Vallendusk - Black Clouds Gathering (2013)

Indonesian atmospheric black metal with post-rock elements. Sorrowful, epic, and beautiful, but not too beautiful -- like, you're not gonna forget that you're listening to a black metal record.

Track listing:
1. Fragments of Light
2. To Wander and Beyond
3. Shades of Grey
4. Into the Mist
5. Among the Giants
6. Realms of the Elder
7. Land of the Lurking Twilight

Over moor and mountain, forest and land, soaring over
Vast expanses of nothingness, a solitary figure against the endless sky
Into the never-ending grasses that move like a thousand hands waving
We came in colors of every shade

More along these lines:
Ardour Loom -
Demo (2014)
Felix Axemo -
Den Lycklige (2016)

The Olivia Tremor Control - Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One (1999)

The Apples in Stereo - Science Faire (1996)
Elf Power - The Winter Is Coming (2000)
The Gerbils - The Battle of Electricity (2001)
Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't - Individualized Shirts (2001)

Essential 90s indie psych pop. A colorful, dizzying sound-journey through a world of Beatles/Beach Boys-style pop, as refracted through a kaleidoscope then recorded onto a four-track. In the Aeroplane Over the Sea aside, Black Foliage is the quintessential Elephant 6 record, and one of my all-time favorite albums.

Track listing:
1. Opening
2. A Peculiar Noise Called "Train Director"
3. Combinations
4. Hideaway
5. Black Foliage: Animation 1
6. Combinations
7. The Sky Is a Harpsichord Canvas
8. A Sleepy Company
9. Grass Canons
10. A New Day
11. Combinations
12. Black Foliage: Animation 2
13. I Have Been Floated
14. Paranormal Echoes
15. Black Foliage: Animation 3
16. A Place We Have Been To
17. Black Foliage (Itself)
18. The Sylvan Screen
19. The Bark and Below It
20. Black Foliage: Animation 4
21. California Demise 3
22. Looking for Quiet Seeds
23. Combinations
24. Mystery
25. Another Set of Bees in the Museum
26. Black Foliage: Animation 5
27. Hilltop Procession (Momentum Gaining)

In the blink of an eye, you get several meanings

You should also be listening to:
Bongwater -
The Power of Pussy (1990)
The Boo Radleys -
Giant Steps (1993)

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dakhma - Passageways to Daena (The Concomitant Blessings of Putrescing Impurity) (2015)

Swiss lysergic black/death metal. Distorted vocals, drum machine, and line-in guitars make for a creepily synthetic, almost industrial-metal sound. Weird.

Track listing:
1. Barashnûm (Defiled by Dead Flesh)
2. Where Shattered Minds Collide (The Immortal March)
3. Ascension (Flesh and Bone)
4. Ascension II (The Light Eternal)
5. Chinvat (Ascension III: Agony)
6. Consuming the Nasu (Of Shredded Impurity)
7. Of Charred Flesh (Blessed by Illuminating Fire)
8. The Silent Tower (Gather Ye of Life)

Feed from the skull

You might also like:
Nuclearhammer -
Obliteration Ritual (2009)
Voidchrist -
Herald of a Brighter Dawn (2014)

Bernd Kistenmacher - Romantic Times (1986)

Drifting, cosmic synthscapes, mixed as a single continuous piece, by German musician Bernd Kistenmacher. Pretty sure I've officially run out of things to say about synth music, but it remains one of my favorite things in the world.

Track listing:
1. Atmospheric Intro
2. Wake Up in the Sun
3. Harmonic
4. Harmonic Rhythm
5. April
6. The Shadows Get Shorter
7. Summergate

Secret feelings

If you like this, you'll also like:
Herb Ernst -
Dreamflight (1986)
Ad van Gerven -
Hatching (1992)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Verge - Sex & Violence (2011)

Finnish black metal. Utterly hateful vocals, darkly epic riffs, the occasional shred-solo, and some unsettling sound effects. Waaay more professional -- compositionally and performance-wise -- than that (amazing) album art might suggest.

Track listing:
1. Chains
2. Death's Coitus
3. On the Verge
4. Persistence in Failure
5. Pride & Vanity
6. Sex & Violence I: Lust
7. Sex & Violence II: Hate
8. Sex & Violence III: Pride

The blood you wash from your hands
Floods always somewhere

Also listen to:
:Sorcier des Glaces -
Snowland (1998)
Mörker -
Skuggornas Rike (2006)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Veineliis - In This Forest Shall Be My Gallows (2004)

German raw depressive black metal. Gorgeously miserable, lo-fi explorations of nature's beckoning void via minimal drumming, arpeggiating guitars, and ghoulish vocals.

Track listing:
1. The Yearning's Yell
2. Ghastly Life
3. Wind
4. The Most Lifeless Dusk of All Nights
5. In This Forest Shall Be My Gallows
6. A Silent Hanging Corpse

Indifference and disdain

You would also like:
Strid -
Strid (2007)
Lyrinx -
Nihilistic Purity (2007)

The David Whitaker Orchestra - Music to Spy By (1966)

Cinematic, spy-themed big band jazz, augmented by the occasional super-fuzzy guitar and excursion into exotica.

Track listing:
1. Interception
2. Pistol Packing Paris
3. Two Shades of Black
4. Mr. Mouthpiece
5. Strange Affair
6. Kremlin-Koke-Kaviar
7. This'll Kill You
8. Federation of Finks
9. Cressida
10. Reflection in Fact
11. Boneyard
12. Alive at Last

Circling sharks

You might also enjoy:
Gary Burton -
The Time Machine (1966)
David Axelrod - Song of Innocence
(1968) + Songs of Experience (1969)

Eleh - Location Momentum (2010)

Minimal, trance-inducing drone. Warm, analogue hums and subtly shifting vibrations. If oxycodone made noise as it spread throughout your body, it'd sound like this.

Track listing:
1. Heleneleh
2. Linear to Circular / Vertical Axis
3. Circle One: Summer Transcience
4. Observation Wheel
5. Rotational Change for Windmill

In the ears of the gods

More aural painkillers:
SleepResearch_Facility -
Nostromo (2001)
Borden, Ferraro, Godin, Halo,
Lopatin - FRKWYS 7 (2011)