srijeda, 18. veljače 2015.

Isobel Ccircle~ - The House In Harbour Park (2015)


Detektiv J. H. istražuje tajanstvenu kuću i 3-D printerom materijalizira nevidljive prizore.


Inspired by the personal journals of Detective J.H. which chart his investigation into the mysterious events that took place in The House In Harbour Park, Isobel Ccircle~'s album is part Clem Snide investigation and part X File, painting a haunting and often terrifying picture full of strange occurrences and unworldly rituals.
The Lousianian/Lancastrian duo of April Larson and Matt Bower has gone from strength to strength and 'The House In Harbour Park' sees Isobel Ccircle~ reach new heights and depths with its rich and captivating soundscapes.

Are you familiar with the method of loci mnemonic device for public speaking, where the speaker places the pertinent points of interest around a mental construct of their home?
This turns out to be a very useful method for relating to dark ambient/drone/noise based music, as well.
Isobel Ccircle~ is the much loved duo of April Larson and Matt Bower, of Wizards Tell Lies. The pair transmit from a liminal state, in the aether, from their respective homes of Louisiana and Lancashire.
The House In Harbour Park is described by the label as being “Inspired by the personal journals of Detective J.H. which chart his investigation into the mysterious events that took place in The House In Harbour Park, Isobel Ccircle~’s album is part Clem Snide investigation and part X File, painting a haunting and often terrifying picture full of strange occurrences and unworldly rituals.”
Even with some digging, not sure who this detective J.H. is, but The House In Harbour Park sounds like a time traveling adventure for William Hope Hodgson’s Carnacki, The Ghost Finder, if he were to investigate a crumbling, decrepit two-story ranch house.
The sounds contained on this ferric document are arranged as a continual, drifting soundscape, swathed in murk and fog, and are best taken whole, to simulate the experience of wandering through this dusty, dimly lit environment, stage for all manner of unwholesome activities. Each “song”, or “chapter”, could then be interpreted as an individual room, with titles and thumbnail imagery, to illustrate the ambiance, and provide a bearing to orient by.
Room 1: Vaporized Mercury – As you enter the home, whose walls seem to swell and breathe in a most sickly fashion, it seems that the typical laws of physics have been suspended, as drops of condensation plummet towards the ceiling. All right, then, you can check yr skepticism at the door. Something is going on here…
Room 2: Harbour House Room 3 (Flashlight In The Fog) – Yes, that’s right – Room 3 is the second room; conventional nomenclature has no hold here. The air thickens with particulate condensation, obscuring yr vision to two inches in front of your face. You can hear yr pulse in yr ears, and distant droplets of water, as you try to remember which way is forward. It seems as if you’ve always been in this mist. You’re beginning to lose track of how long you’ve been in the house. Better hurry up…
Room 3: The Keyhole Observations – You press yr eye to the black void of a keyhole, to observe a room warmly lit, like the hour of sunset, although it was barely noon when you entered. The room looks calm, inviting; you turn the antique bronze handle, to find the room cold gray, damp, and abandoned, the same as the rest of the house.
Room 4: Harbor House Room 2 (Noises In The Vents) – Vengeful spirits are always fond of ventilation. They love to throw their voices through the tinny, tiny openings, speaking in garbled, alien, bit-crushed tones, that cannot be replicated by vocal apparati. It seems that this house may have some hallucinogenic fungus in its vents; you feel like yr breathing a mixture of ergot and belladonna. Should’ve brought a mask; too late now. The walls seem to breathe, swell and shudder with renewed intensity.
Room 5: Exorcism Relocation Map – The fifth room, entirely vacant, except for a chalk circle drawn on the floor. In the center, a map, marking victims of demonic possession, and their current locations. What’s stranger, is these X’s seem to be moving on the paper! Are these the victims, or the traces of unclean spirits, moving about the physical plane?
Room 6: On The Fifth Night (Tears And Talons) – Up the stairs, and on to the second story – the floorboards seem to sag under yr weight in a very worrisome fashion. Although it is daytime outside the windows, you can hear the hoot of night owls, and what sounds like the clanging of ships’ masts, although yr nowhere near a body of water. Someone’s memories? Or yr own shaken nervous system? It’s so hard to hold on to what’s real, in this place.
Room 7: Harbour House Room 1 (Survive) – You can barely remember what you came in here for. There is only forward motion now, opening one door after another. It seems you have always wandered these hallways. Yr not even scared anymore, just drifting.
Room 8: Voices In The Dial Tone – An antique phone rings on a nightstand, despite its cord being frayed and cut from the wall. You pick it up, hesitantly, to hear what sounds like a ten ton Frog God on the other line, speaking yr name, trying to be coaxing. It’s not working, this voice knows nothing of seduction and enticement. This is the sound of swine devouring infants, of tears in the night; of crushing, inescapable despair.
Room 9: Voisix – How’s this going to end? Nearing the end of the corridor? Slightly intimidated by the notion of returning the way you came. You open the ninth door, and find endless, empty night sky. The stars have all burnt out, there is no illumination, nothing to orient by. The long dark night of the soul. It makes you want to lie down and sleep; you almost succumb. It takes all yr reserves to stay on yr feet. You hesitantly shut the door, with all of yr might.
Room 10: Stuck In Harbour House – You can no longer even remember yr own name, let alone what inspired you to come into this ramshackle structure. Those that live here no longer have to hide; the shadow grow eyes and fangs, and you can taste the thick spoor of mold and bacteria in yr throat. A distant beating – is that yr heart? Or the pulse of the house? Perhaps the beating of a sacrificial drum, or an approaching storm. Yr not worried – you have nothing to protect.
Room 11: Their Names Were Buried With Their Corpses Just To Be Sure – It’s all clear now. They’ve shown themselves. How awful, to be forgotten. How awful, to be nameless. Back into the legions of chaos, the nameless and the unnameable, with dread forgotten Gods and crawling, pinching creatures that live beneath blood and manure soaked soil. They want yr name. They want yr history. They want to walk in the light. Not for comfort, or for joy; just to wreck and wreak havoc. The window, with glass like a guillotine, beckons mockingly; only yr hatred of cliche saves you from returning to the natural laws of gravity, with a graceful swan dive to disaster. No. You will come back the way you came. You will tell others, or forget, what you saw hear, heard here. And then you will burn this fucking house to the ground.
Writing critically about Isobel Ccircle~ and The House In Harbour Park reveals something interesting, on the topics of Psychogeography and the analog vs. digital debate, illustrating a push/pull dichotomy between knowing and wonder.
Psychogeography began as a way to reclaim urban spaces from the onslaught of capitalism, where it seemed that you had to pay to be anywhere. If yr not shopping, you have no reason to be! It also was designed to free up citydwellers from rat maze lifestyles, comprised only of eating, working, and sleeping. Capitalism can be a prison, and we’re looking to pick the locks.
Psychogeographers are modern day urban shamen, looking for leylines beneath cobblestones, ghosts and spirits amongst shopping centers and anonymous suburban housing. It invites you to wander about, aimlessly, drifting, just looking, sensing, tasting.
This lamentation of late capitalism, at the demise of the curiosity, of the unknown. A nostalgia for nostalgia, as it were – remembering the ability to forget. We are all burnt out by the immediate knowing, so we take to the streets, desperately seeking something new, something miraculous, something curious. We’re willing to risk pains of hell to find it.
This results in hordes of antiquarians, scouring city streets with camera phones and GPS; a nation of Urban Explorers and Hauntologists, documenting the decay. The funny, almost ironic, dichotomy of this movement is that it fosters both an interest and a passion for the funky, obscure, run down and out of the way (which is a good thing). We LOVE holes in the walls. We LOVE dilapidated curiosities. There are leagues and leagues of tumblrs and pinterest boards to prove this.
At the same time, we are absorbing these relics into the simulacrum, making them known, quantifiable, becoming another commodity, like all the rest.
I was lucky enough to get a copy of The House In Harbour Park on analog cassette (sadly gone at the source now), and have spent numerous hours, drifting around this domicile, flipping the silver tape over and over, with nervous fingers.
The sound on the tape is unknown, unbroken. There are no words, and you will find no track titles on the liner notes. Just a series of evocative images. I didn’t even know how many songs there were, until i cued up the attached download.
So which is better? Do you prefer to leave the sounds alone, let them speak for themselves? Or do you need hard facts and data, to discern this release from the howling mob of amorphous drone releases out there?
I postulate a third way – a middle pillar. An easy peace, between the funky and the real, and the archive. We can use data to file, sort, organize, recommend, locate, and share, while the physical seems to possess a magick, a sparkling aura, that can’t be captured with pixels and big data.
Any art that lures you into the real, into engaging with and exploring yr own life, the world around you, is performing a vital service. We can’t applaud enough.
Again, sorry to point you in the direction you can’t actually hold in yr hands (unless you scour), but let it serve as a reminder to keep an eye on Auditory Field Theory, as they are producing sweet, magickal documents. You need them all; get ‘em while you can.
The House In Harbour Park is available as a digital download, from Auditory Field Theory.
April Larson bandcamp
Wizards Tell Lies Facebook
Auditory Field Theory Facebook

Second Moon of Winter - One for Sorrow, Two for Joy (2015)

SecondMoonOfWinter_OneForSorrowTwoForJoy album cover

Sopran od kojeg se pčelama ježi koža.

Second Moon of Winter is Kim Sheehan (voice) Ari Sheehan (guitar) and Tom Hodge (clarinet). One for Sorrow, Two for Joy, our first record is out in January 2015 on Denovali.Erik Otis at Sound Colour Vibration describes our debut: "All of the pieces channel into a spiritual energy that raises the hairs on my neck and lifts everything into an axis that is all its own. When most are looking to create an island or scene, the trio has managed to create their own planetary system…I really want to see a group like this become as influential as any of the other great bands and groups of the last 20 years. Contemporary outsider groups of unique value like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, The Mars Volta, Mono and countless others. This has that power, it just needs the love from the people now."

SECOND MOON OF WINTER is a new experimental ensemble from Ireland melting discordant ambiences with luminous soprano. Their first installment, a six track album called “One for Sorrow, Two for Joy”, will be released on Denovali Records in January 2015.
“One for Sorrow, Two for Joy” was written and recorded live in a series of four hour sessions in a basement by the sea in County Cork in the south of Ireland; no computers, no playback of samples, no overdubs, no further processing after the event.
It is three people performing live in an intensely personal collaboration. Knowing each other well and yet having never experimented together before, it felt almost like a necessity to combine their far-flung musical minds. Waves of sound created predominantly on guitar and clarinet, provide a backdrop for singing rarely experienced outside an opera house, and yet with a subtle connection to Irish folk song also.
Inspired by the symbolism of photos, prints and memories, the studio floor was strewn with semi-precious melodies, never knowing which was to be picked up next, to be held and then polished like sea glass in a tidal soundscape.
Tethering themselves to each other’s innate sense of interpretation and improvisation, an idea was never good nor bad, it was instead either in or out, necessary or unnecessary. In making “One for Sorrow, Two for Joy” SECOND MOON OF WINTER understood that true musical inspiration and output is free from grasping and clinging.
Their fragmented melodies meet, form and fluctuate in a wave of musical metamorphosis. They strive to sit apart and yet within their soundscapes - melting and moving forward with the momentum of a creeping frost under the waning of the second moon.
SECOND MOON OF WINTER is to be silent, to listen and finally to create a picture out of that listening. It is a meshing together of sounds that touch and clash in their different atmospheres yet bathe together in a tense harmonic understanding.
“One for Sorrow, Two for Joy” is a truly fascinating and deeply persuasive listen for enthusiasts of avant-garde, ambient, dark free jazz and contemporary classical music. -

Classical music, metal, electronic, and improv have always been like neighboring galaxies in orbit – revolving around another, occasionally intersecting in bizarre and glistening constellations, yet never fully superimposing, succumbing to each others’ physics.
What comes of this is a certain delineation; an in-built limitation. You get orchestra musicians that don’t know how to improvise, and you have basement dwelling indie rockers that don’t explore that many shades and hues of clarinets and oboes and duduks. You get pirouetting, firebrand free jazz saxophonists treading the floorboards to a ghost audience, while electronics are still pigeonholed as goodtime hedonism, ignoring the latent sci-fi volk vistas that are capable of producing.
The trouble is you get musicians dishing more of the same, as genres concretize and congeal. In the vernacular, there’s really only so many stories you are capable of telling them.
One example of this, which is entirely pertinent to this debut offering from Cork, Ireland’s Second Moon Of Winter, is opera. Opera seems inherently weight with attributions of opulence, of the gentry in their finery gathering for a Saturday evening gala. The setting lends itself to epic-ness and romance; after all, who wants to hear an aria about afternoon, or see a quiet, slice of life pantomime, full of unnerving, discordant strings. It exists, but it will always be, shall we say, marginalized.
Second Moon Of Winter are a group of musicians who have known each other for a while, but this was their first attempt at sonic experimentation together. The music is built around the unique and interesting backbone of clarinet and guitar, which is then overlaid with the even more interesting addition of operatic soprano and slight speckles of vintage analog electronics.
One For Sorrow, Two For Joy was captured in a basement near the sea in Cork, Ireland, over a span of intensive rehearsal sessions. Improv was embraced to exand creativity and bring new ideas. This can be heard most obviously in the libretto, vague, poetic, imagery, in a high, crystal-clear soprano, which transforms into a sonic warble or a banshee wail, with little provocation. The result is as if Haruki Murakami were to supply the text for a Philip Glass ballet, which was then played from an answering machine.
This is just an example of the surreality which can be unleashed from such from such a confluence of musical genomes. Jazz makes its presence known as well, in the clarinets – the specter of Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue, suspended in time and viewed from faraway, hangs around the proceedings as well, adding another layer of jazz age imagery over the already dense brambles of the opera house and the band shell. Longing, madness, remorse, anxiety – One For Sorrow, Two For Joy sings in a vocabulary of implications and subtle shades, like light through the blinds.
All of this is imbued with a sense of might, as well as muscular longing, from the clouds of electric guitar, which are aligned with the avant-metal mutations of the last decade, but always restrain, never roar and overwhelm and strain the delicate cobweb of music. Clarinets and electric guitars rubbing coarse textures is one of this album’s main joys.
You really get a sense of being in the damp basement with the musicians. They really captured something, let you in on an experience. The band resisted the impulse to endlessly tweak and process the raw audio, instead enhancing the natural resonance and acoustics. It works well, and the production holds up brilliantly to the approach, mellowing out a lot of the shrieking, squeaking high end free improv can contain, while also siphoning the mud that can come along with metal, preventing this from becoming a cavernous drone bath.
Denovali keep up a prolific and prodigious output of a number of adventurous genres. They seem on a mission to submit classicism, in various aspects, back into the world, mostly in the form of jazz and classical mutations.
In Second Moon Of Winter’s own words:
SECOND MOON OF WINTER is to be silent, to listen and finally to create a picture out of that listening. It is a meshing together of sounds that touch and clash in their different atmospheres yet bathe together in a tense harmonic understanding.
- from the press release
That’s one of the things that brings us to this place, bringing disparate threads together, for greater understanding, and ultimately, towards the goal of making the best possible art.
What may follow may be a meandering pathway through eras, genres, moods and mediums. Magazine clippings and answering machine confessionals. There’s no telling.
If there’s something you’d like to see or hear, let us know in the comments, or drop us a line on Facebook.
I am making more time for classic things in my life. I am less interested in keeping up with the clamor, or appearing a certain way, and am seeking the depths. I have found that worrying about what to write prevents me from writing in this space, prevents the Forestpunk tapestry from weaving itself. So, i’m vowing to stop that.  - Forest Punk

utorak, 10. veljače 2015.

Have a Nice Life - The Unnatural World

Crkve za rušenje filmova na nebu.

The most striking measurement of Have a Nice Life’s growth over the past couple years can be made by playing the new version of “Defenestration Song”—a high point of the Connecticut post-punk outfit’s second album, The Unnatural World—against the original version from 2010’s Voids cassette. Previously stringy and pale, the song is now brawny and dark. The bass line, once a bubbling throwback to Joy Division’s “Walked in Line”, has become a flood of sludge. Drums and guitar claw at each other. And the vocals seep through the sour atmosphere like a poisonous fog. An entire dimension has been added to it—and the same can be said of Have a Nice Life as a whole.
Founded by core members Dan Barrett and Tim Macuga, Have a Nice Life came on strong with their 2008 debut, Deathconsciousness, then seemed to retreat in the face of an imminent breakthrough. It’s taken six years to issue a proper follow-up, but their central message hasn’t changed: Existence is bleak, gallows humor undergirds it, and sometimes wallowing in that sick paradox is the best revenge. But instead of sporting the sort of smart-ass song titles found on Deathconsciousness (“Holy Fucking Shit: 40,000”, “Waiting for Black Metal Records to Come in the Mail”), The Unnatural World submerges most of the duo’s bitter irony, or at least the irony, leaving nothing but the bitter.
For all its unrelenting gloom, The Unnatural World oozes beauty. On “Burial Society”, a rolling blackout of congealed noise only barely clothes a sumptuous, lonesome vocal melody—one that’s as full of rage as it is resignation. Smothered in sorrow, “Guggenheim Wax Museum” plods and throbs in time with some cosmic, cancerous organ. Hints of shoegaze gauziness and industrial pneumatics float through “Unholy Life”, even as “Dan and Tim, Reunited by Fate” bypasses what would appear to be cheeky self-mythology in favor of dour, murky balladry. When the track’s skeletal tangle of beats and static finally disintegrates, all that’s left is hellish echo. 
“Cropsey”, named after Staten Island’s eerie, mad-slasher urban legend, opens with an even more chilling sample: testimony from a young boy named Johnny, an inmate of the notoriously abusive Pennsylvania mental institution Pennhurst that was featured in the 1968 exposé Suffer the Little Children. Accordingly, the song’s spiraling synths and ghostly wails evoke stolen innocence, nerve-deadened dread, and cries for a rescue that may never come. Rather than feeling like morbid exploitation, “Crospey” slowly morphs into a goth-dub uproar that tears loose a heart of tenderness and empathy. Hope, however, is still nowhere in sight.
The album’s matched pair of drumless tracks, “Music Will Untune the Sky” and “Emptiness Will Eat the Witch”, are equal parts brooding interlude and mocking reprieve. They hover over the rest of the songs like an unspoken, fatalistic threat—an ominous horizon that can’t be escaped from. Where fellow travelers such as the Soft Moon and Cold Cave religiously exult in the darkwave tradition, Have a Nice Life use The Unnatural World to distance themselves from any kind of retroactive pull. Sinuous instead of rigid, bloody instead of embalmed, the album refuses to be frozen in time or place. Instead it moves, and moves others with it. - Jason Heller