June 14, 2010

The North Sea and Tärr. Two new tapes

# 1 : ( Notice #9 ) Tärr : " Shoulder Movements "

Dealing with both fabricated and real paradises, and the streamlined means for arrival. A demanding listen — one which sits well with the Notice catalogue, both past and future. Present is implied.
- Artwork by E. Lindorff-Ellery. 2-colour letterpress printed on heavy stock.
An edition of 66.
- Pro-dubbed, imprinted cassettes with classic Notice attire.

Cover art is available using these links :
Larger cover

# 2 : ( Notice #10 ) The North Sea : " Relinquished Sparks "

Brad Rose has brought forth his first release for Notice Recordings. An extremely prolific and visceral project — here presented as more minimal and delicate, yet maintaining a great degree of intensity and grace. Sparks fly forth in slow motion, their ephemeral luminescence dependent upon the surrounding darkness, gradually landing on new grounds.
- Artwork by E. Lindorff-Ellery. Letterpress printed on charcoal-grey weave stock. Ink is available in TWO colours : All Black or all White.
Please specify which you want (or both !) when ordering.
25 in Black ; 52 in White
An edition of 77 total.
- Pro-dubbed, imprinted cassettes with classic Notice attire.

Different versions of cover art is available using these links :
White or Black

Sound samples available here :

Prices are 6$ North America / 9$ World. An initial sale for these tapes will be purchasing both for 10$ North America / 14$ World. Trades are welcome.

The next two tapes will be available in 2 weeks. The first is by Red Electric Rainbow, who is deeply entwined within the weaves of preparation for the Neon Marshmallow Festival, taking place at the Viaduct Theatre this August in Chicago. The lineup is exceptional. Be sure to attend.
The second tape is by Yellow Crystal Star, who will also be embarking upon a tour this late July.

June 07, 2010

Ken Camden, Zelienople - Empty Bottle, 3 June 2010

And more ruminations--

Ken Camden performed solo in support of his new Kranky release, Lethargy & Repercussion. Employing a drone generator processed in rhythmic ways, his playing heavily effected and often tweaked in real time, Ken’s set took on a very human, exploratory quality, flying in the face of typical drone guitar pieces. His pieces were episodic, with several motifs weaving in and out of the rhythms of the drone box. This approach lent some immediacy to the show, but it also somehow limited the transcendent effects of the music, as sudden movements, knob tweaking, and changes in the backing modulations drew me out of the trance just as abruptly as his playing put me in it. Ken used the familiar pentatonic scale almost exclusively, carefully moving up and down the neck until he settled on a position at which to cut loose for more ecstatic playing. What really stood out was the texture coming out of his three practice amps, with multiple effects creating a layered atmosphere that faded out or cut abruptly in between pieces.

Zelienople took the stage without a drummer, and singer/guitarist Matt Christensen made an announcement in a grave tone—drummer Mike Weis, with whom he and guitarist Bryan Harding had played for 15 years…was violently ill with the stomach flu. As the laughter subsided in the audience, he and Harding launched into a rumbling squall of feedback, only yielding after several minutes to quieter pieces. With the absence of Weis’ frankly awesome drumming, the songs took on a more intimate feel, scaled back to strumming and sparse repeated riffs. Singing with heavy reverb, Christensen sounded a bit like Mark Kozelek at times, his voice imploring calm and full of reservations. The hypnotic repetition let the songs breathe in a new way that gave them a refreshing, almost singer-songwriter sheen. One of the things that make Zelienople so captivating is that, on top of their wisecracking and laid-back exterior, an undercurrent of deep transcendence seems to simply boil over. Christensen closes his eyes, starts rocking back and forth, and the atmosphere descends. It’s this unexpected and quite natural descent that makes for such superior music.

June 06, 2010

Koboku Senjû – Hideout, 26 May 2010

Some thoughts from my journal--

Last week, I saw the North American debut of the Japanese-Norwegian quintet, Koboku Senjû, in Chicago. I saw the group live before listening to their debut album. The CD itself, entitled “Selektiv Hogst,” while conceptually strong, falls into a familiar trap of improvised and particularly quiet music. The problem is that, though the music is controlled to a high degree, giving room for intimate interplay between the players, there is nothing on the disc that can compare to the visceral immediacy of seeing the group perform live. In particular, the rigors of circular breathing and deep concentration on display by Eivind Lønning (trumpet) and Espen Reinertdsen (tenor sax) were completely eliminated on disc.

To capture such elusive playing on a recording is difficult, of course. But the actual playing at the Hideout was more inventive, more focused, and executed in a stronger way. It seems that the release documents an early meeting of a group that had developed significantly between its recording and their first North American show. The horn players in particular were magically inventive during the show, playing interwoven lines that mimicked the pulsing of electronic oscillations, the clattering and whispering of modular synthesizers, and other nonmusical elements, with precision and clarity. The incorporation of advanced musical techniques like circular breathing, and the propensity to play very softly and at the very edges of the instruments’ ranges, only added to the power of watching the horn players work.

Tetuzi Akiyama, the Japenese guitarist, played marvelously unresolved lines throughout on an acoustic guitar. The sparseness of his playing gave it a quietly authoritative feel, enhanced by his mystic cowboy persona. Playing fingerstyle and employing multiple capos, brushes, and semi-resonant slides, he coaxed a surprising array of sounds from the acoustic, miked simply with an SM-57, his right hand theatrically plucking as if waving a wand over the room.

The main attraction of the group, if there is one, was the no-input mixing master Toshimaru Nakamura. He’s been released in a number of electroacoustic collaborations recently (trumpet, saxophone), and it was interesting in particular to hear him interact with Akiyama. Their set as a duo at the Hideout produced some intense and distinct soundscapes, complimenting each other with tense, careful, and gorgeous playing.

Perhaps resulting from his choice of instrument, there’s a competitiveness to Nakamura’s virtuosity, a barely-contained impulse to search for the new and to stand out. This was especially apparent in the large ensembles with Chicago players at Enemy, and occasionally with Koboku Senjû. Occasionally, Nakamura would simply crush a piece into submission during a section with crescendos of noise, essentially forcing the acoustic instruments to regroup into a new section. This was a surprising tactic that lent a fresh urgency to the music, but it also reinforced Nakamura’s status—as an innovator on an unusual instrument, and as a known force on the progressive music scene. I have to think that as this group keeps playing, their collective virtuosity will continue to make listeners challenge the limitations of both electronic and acoustic instruments.

June 04, 2010

Sold out of most of the tapes. Saving some for the Kinzie Art Walk in Chicago and for shows. We have a handful left of each. Please get in touch if you'd like some, or contact Discriminate Music or Reckless Records and see if they have some first.

2 spectacular releases coming up next Thursday by Tärr and The North Sea. These orders will receive free stickers and letterpress printed cards, while supplies last. A sale will occur in which you may purchase both for 10$ppd in the States of America.

Much in the works, including new tapes by a number of musicians, a new website and other developments.

Full update very soon with more information.

Thanks and enjoy the summer.

Send good thoughts to the Gulf of Mexico and the surrounding land. And all the families, animals, fishermen and towns affected by such a horrendous disaster. Fuck oil and fuck BP.