7-Inch Roundup

Every once in a while one has to spin those ancient-looking things, if only to get them out of eyesight. But let’s face it: great music hides in there sometimes, and I spent a nice Sunday morning listening to the best (well, almost) of what these people had to offer in such a restricted format.

LOCRIAN / KATCHMARE – Drosscape / Scarab

So let’s start from one of the two releases that do not contain gripping stuff. Locrian’s side is crammed with stratified guitars, shrieking feedbacks and lo-fi distortion at the basis of something that would like to sound ominous but ultimately results as stereotyped. Katchmare produce plenty of dissonance, possibly via the same means, however their abstract viciousness is unpersuasive and really seems to go nowhere. (Pilgrim Talk)

FRANS DE WAARD / HOWARD STELZER – Gravity @ Half Speed / A Sunburned Grotto

A nice butterfly-like cover hosts an artefact that works equally well at 45 and 33 rpm. De Waard generates a hypnotic conglomeration of hissing pressure and greyish tints – very “hard winter in a Northern industrial landscape” – utilizing Stelzer-derived sources. The latter use more of them, plus elements of the Dutchman’s side, to concoct a gorgeous mixture of powerful nuclear winds, mucky frequencies and cold-hearted hums. Great stuff from both. (Absurd)

WILL GUTHRIE – Spike-s

It’s been a while since I last listened to Guthrie’s work, and this one doesn’t betray. First side mixing the Australian’s percussive particles in a sea of distorted guitars implying something that sounds like a dramatic cadenza. The same elements – fragmented and “disturbed” by additional clunks and clatters – define the second part, shorter and less impressive but equally substantial. (Pica Disk)

WOODY SULLENDER – Smells Like Teen Spirit / Polly

Conceptual stuff from Sullender, an experimental banjoist and electroacoustic manipulator who gifts us with a lathe-cut item containing two versions of Nirvana hits swallowed by band-pass filters that erase the large part of the acoustic content, reducing the whole to a series of electronic chirps and insect-like micro-movements – complemented by the noise of progressively deteriorating grooves – that could be synthesized as “David Behrman and Christian Marclay cogitating about the impermanence of flaccid corporate rock”. (Dead CEO)

KEVIN DRUMM / JÉRÔME NOETINGER / ROBERT PIOTROWICZ – Wrestling

A live segment from the 2005 edition of the Musica Genera Festival, which – taking a look at the participants – does not need excessive descriptions. Analogue synths, electronics and guitar promise (and deliver) several minutes of engrossing turbulence, the kind of tension that only improvisers willing to give up schemes and abandon themselves to the flow of instant creativity are able to elicit. This has to be played loud – and don’t go hiding when the going gets tough. (Bocian)

TOMASZ KRAKOWIAK – A/P

I’m not sure if the title is correct, anyway Krakowiak works with a cymbal and a microphone. In the first half, a little more “body” comes from classic sounds of manipulated metal; think Christian Wolfarth and the likes. In the second, the lone source is bowed to get nearer to a tense type of minimalism, emaciated upper partials utilized as a sort of a prelude to a harmful event that in fact does not happen. (Bocian)

ROBERT PIOTROWICZ – Rurokura And Eastern European Folk Music Research Volume 2

A “wedding” side comprises hordes of squealing emissions derived from boy choirs and orchestras of ocarinas taped, respectively, in 1967 and 1928. The rest – “Funeral” – is the reworking of a school girl band performing on the 10th anniversary of Emil Cioran’s death, marvellously gloomy at the outset before leaving room to a series of tiny openings and variations. Both faces belong to a composer who always demonstrates that he knows what he’s doing. Concise and brilliant. (Bocian)

CHE CHEN – Pulaski Wave (Violin Halo) / Newton Creek Mirror Lag

Instruments: violin, sine waves, feedback and tape delay. If you thought “La Monte Young / Tony Conrad / Henry Flynt” hold your horses; the influence might be there somewhere, but this music is definitely lighter, lacking the depth of classic minimalism and – on the second side – defined by rhythmic accents that made me giggle a bit rather than fall in trance. The undeviating low purr saves the whole by a hair, for the violin improvisations are not exceptional, either. (Pilgrim Talk)

SILVER ASH – Deathless / Lifeboat

Silver Ash are guitarist Aaron Dugan, percussionist Jeff Arnal and electronic supervisor Casey Block. “Deathless” is a forward-motion magnetic track defined by a stable pulse amidst morphing chordal washes; King Crimson’s “Thela Hun Ginjeet” and a more intelligent species of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” come to mind at different junctures. “Lifeboat” is heavily informed by certain metamorphic shapes typical of nonfigurative improvisation; less precise in terms of beat, it’s nevertheless equally rewarding. (Generate)

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