Smote – Genog

What even is a Genog?

Well, duh, Mr supposedly university-educated Flipdog, it’s the name of the new album by Smote. What else need it be?

I have an earlier one of theirs also on my wishlist. Maybe I should buy one of them, they is clearly amongst the Gods of music. Said wishlist has gone beyond the realms of ridiculous into new levels though.

SO yet another collection of music where there are no words – I mean that descriptively not in the instrumental sense. There are words, and they are chanted, in amanner that puts me in mind of the wonderful Crow Tongue album, Ghost Eye Seeker.

Trancey, meditative with a definite sense of journey. One with a heavy end.

Annelies Monseré – Mares

I think this one went on to my ‘things to check out’ list as a result of my Bandcamp feed but can’t be certain because there are many sources to me checking things out and the gap between getting onto said list and me actually listening to the full work can be really quite long indeed.

Anywho, this comes at you from the experimental end of things because I bet you’re all really fed up with all the mainstream stuff I keep posting, right?

As it’s me, it’s from the angle of catatonia inducing mong-trance, which is totally a genre in its own right, with it’s own rite and everything, and probably a section in HMV. Assuming HMV is still going, I heard a rumour it actually still is. Probably my favourite genre these days.

I note that she has an upcoming collaboration with the also very wonderful Jessica Bailiff, which I am very intrigued to hear.

Sex Swing – Type II

Now, this one is probably old news to most of you.

I actually ignored these for quite a while for reasons that all say more about me than the band. 1) Don’t like the band name. 2) I see the word ‘supergroup’ and I just think swearwords about people phoning it in. 3) What is that cover? Fucking disgusting.

So God Unknown records put it out recently after I’d ignored it’s initial issue on Rocket, and for reasons I don’t know why I decided to listen to it. Actually, I do know why. It was a Monday and I was in a Monday mood so wanted to listen to gnarliness and I thought these might tick that box. And they did tick that box. They ticked it righteously. But they did more than tick that box, they turned that box into a well of unfathomable depth with their riffing, repetitious, droning, hypnotic gnarliness.

And it turns out that one of them has visited these parts before, and that also had a ghastly cover.

AHRKH – Beams From a Spiritual Panorama

So my epic wishlist on Bandcamp has exploded since I re-discovered online radio late last year, but every now and again I need to remind myself of the stuff that’s been on there for absolutely ages.

So I was listening to the radio show that Golden Ratio Frequencies do, and it wasn’t doing a lot for me. It was full of the more new-age-bromide-y ambient music that I ultimately find a bit cloying. So I went to the aforementioned wishlist and scrolled right down to look for stuff that had been there ages and that I couldn’t really remember what it was, and I saw this, so I clicked on it and pressed play.

And got turned into a monged out vegetable. This is a very powerful piece of immersive and rather intense drone. I love it.

And then I noticed this was on the Golden Ratio Frequencies label, and I suspect is the man who does Golden Ratio Frequencies himself, who also is part of the Gnod family. They get everywhere!

Funny how circles close sometimes.

Alvaro Herran – Electric Counterpoint

With props to Jay Springett for this one.

When I was doing my Music Tech course those oh so many moons ago, one of our tutors did a quick demo of Steve Reich’s Clapping Music and got me to be the second person. It took hella concentration but it was really cool to do. I have, subsequently to the course, always retained a soft spot for Reich’s works (along with Terry Riley), so when I saw this I had to have a listen.

Despite the brevity of the EP, it is a fully immersive listen. I’ve moved my little studio around just a bit which has changed my speaker orientation to what I think is probably absolute perfection and as a result I can sink in to the music much deeper. Trancey works like this are, therefore, absolute heaven.

Karamika (self titled)

There’s about 10 shows I listen to regularly that make my wishlist increase every time, and so much enjoyment am I having going through their old shows that I haven’t actually listened to the full albums in question yet…

So I did this one, and despite it being at the more expensive end of the digital albums available, I’m still seriously considering bumping this to the head of the queue. It ticks all those buttons that make music conducive to catatonia, I mean, it’s trancey as all fuck.

This is one of those albums where you actually can just refer to each track by its number. I mean, the whole thing works as a cohesive whole, but say you wanted to highlight, say, track 5, you don’t have to worry about remembering the title.

There may be a whole academic treatise available to someone in this observation – back when I bought vinyl, I used to know the name of every song on every album I bought, same with tapes. Once I moved into CDs, that became slightly less perfect. Now I’m digital only, I struggle to remember song names at all until I’ve heard them about 20 times unless the name jumps out, and that’s just the albums in English. Quantity may have something to do with it, but there’s something else at play as well. I remember reading some while back the suggestion that human memory started to atrophy with the advent of writing because before we could write things down somewhere we needed to have epic memories in order to remember things. As the amount of storage for memory has increased over the years, with books and then TV/Film, and then digital with all dem server farms, so we don’t need to remember anything any more, we can all just look it up. And then forget what we just looked up. Did someone say progress?

Anyway, ignore my ramblings and listen to the music.

Altbau – v​š​echno je úplně jinéAltbau –

Of course I can pronounce it. I can pronounce it like a native.

A native of Leicester.

This one is from a Czech label called Stoned to Death who I have posted an album from before. They have no particular style to their offerings beyond the artists being local to them, as far as I can tell. But they frequently put out very interesting music ranging from lo-fi punk to American primitive with almost everything in between, and this is amongst the most recent.

The creator of this is someone called Angel Dodov, who also plays in 3 other bands with whom I am totally unfamiliar and am intrigued enough to want to hear more by, though my wishlist is currently ridiculous and I really shouldn’t add to it. But I’m going to.

I would call this really relaxing and hypnotic, and indeed it is as I dozed off the first time I listened to vidím tam nějaké hlasy, and then in the last track he brings in some vox which properly wakes up any drifters. So I think it’s fair to say he doesn’t intend for listeners to doze off, or maybe he likes rude awakenings.

Elsewhere VXIII

Many years ago – about 15, I think – I was chatting with someone who was guesting at a library I was working at and the subject of the fact I make music came up. When describing his own approach to music, he said that unlike me, he only consumes music…

It is impossible to consume music. You can engage with it or you can ignore it, or somewhere in between, but you cannot consume it. The music will remain unchanged, although your perception of it won’t.

Imagine thinking like that? I was too nice to debate with him about it, plus I think my thoughts on it took a while to become coherent even though it jarred me immediately. But it speaks to a mindset that believes it is only in existence to consume things because of much larger sociological factors that are not even wrong, that would be giving them waaay too much credit.

I was reminded of this exchange by all the giddy hype about what AI (sidebar: it’s all A, no I) can do for us to save us from the drudgery of, like, leisure and stuff, and reading, and writing, and creating, and making, and, and, and… all we have to do is give some prompts and it do all that for us! And then what do we do? More free time to merely consume things, I suppose.

A compilation like what I bring to your attention today simply could not be made with that kind of approach to music and discernment. There is a thread running through this that can only be done with human judgement. And indeed, DJ soFa, for it is he who has compiled this, has made several compilations and all of them have a particular feel to them though it would be an insult to insinuate they are in any way the same as each other; they are not.

This is why an algorithmic approach to music discovery will never throw the surprises at you that other humans can. You simply could not build in the coherent unpredictability required. In fact, all the best compilations, DJ sets, mixes – what they have in common is a coherent unpredictability. And probably all great art, for that matter.

If you want merely functional, then go ahead and knock yourself out with your AI approach to creativity and novelty, which will be neither creative or novel unless you assign a depressingly low value to what you consider creative or novel. But if you want the great, the sublime… you need the human touch.

Ivan the Tolerable – The Aleph

This one came from the bandcamp feed, someone I follow had bought it and I salute them. They have impeccable taste.

Looking at the blurb, there is a connection to the wonderful Haress, but there is very little similarity between their sound and this. This comes under umbrella term of ‘jazz that I like,’ which is a small but growing field. I think ‘jazz that I like’ is where jazz meets psych, drone, groove and repetition. In fact, any genre that has a party in that area will probably do it for me.

This fella’s catalogue needs exploring, I feel. Just as well I haven’t got much else to listen to at the mo… oh, wait…

And also, this is the first time I have used ‘Middlesborough’ as a geographical tag.

Sebastian Melmoth – The Dynamics of Vanity

For about the last week I’ve been obsessed with listening to NTS Radio and not just whatever is live but going back through archives of particular hosts, so much so I even put the app on my phone (which close friends will probably retort with ‘where is Jay and what have you done with him?’). I have mentioned them before but I originally only went there for that one host. I just had this desire one day to listen to dubstep for a while and I only have early Burial stuff so that made me wonder what would happen if I looked around here.

So the final track on this album – all 14 minutes of it – was featured on a show which made me go to this album and check it out. It is far from the only thing that’s happened with, and more posts may follow once I’ve checked out the relevant bandcamps, etc. But the reason I mention that is because – what is not to absolutely love about radio that plays 14 minute experimental tracks? This was far from an outlier, too.

I’m the last person in the world to go around dispensing descriptions. Sebastian Melmoth do experimental post-punk, according to the description on this page though it is a vague pointer at best. Art rock? maybe, whatever that is. That last track I mentioned is a classic but I would have no idea how to describe it. Ambient post-punk maybe. But the E.P. / album is all over the place stylistically. Not sure I can think of a meaningful reference point – at an absolute stretch, maybe one of the tunes reminds me of Faust.