MAGIC MIX

avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 20 Apr

Genre pick of the week Cover of Infinity Machines by Gnod.
Slaves to no-one but their own psychic co-ordinates. Gnod continue their fearless voyages down pathways unknown. Operating from their base camp of Islington Mill - a venue, art-space and liminal zone in Salford - the band have stubbornly pursued their own free-flowing aesthetic since their formation. ‘Infinity Machines’, their fifth release for Rocket Recordings, and the latest for this prolific outfit in a vibrant and diverse history, is no less than a pinnacle of achievement for a band who exist beyond all or any reductive genre pigeonholes, not to mention beyond the constraints of the everyday.

A triple-album, it explores a unique vision informed by experimental élan and metaphysical intensity. In an era in which the word ‘psychedelic’ too often tends to signify a reductive and retrograde rag-bag of second-hand shapes, it was in Gnod’s nature to forge forth in search of new and expanded sonic terrain. At first, this led them to pursue a purely electronic sound in the live arena, yet as they knuckled down to chronicle this expansion and experimentation for posterity, it became clear that a mixture of live instrumentation and binary audial research would be the path that would prove most fruitful. Thus began the process that would ultimately produce these recordings, and a far-reaching mission which would result in uncanny crepuscular atmosphere locking horns with sinister electronic intensity.‘Infinity Machines’ traverses between and beyond a variety of different headspaces from the bleak to the beatific – yet whilst touching on nocturnal jazz, soothing yet unsettling ambience, menacing aggro-industrial battery and opiated bliss-out alike, it’s shot through with an undercurrent of fiery countercultural zeal and small-hours revelation, as if the hive-mind of their home collective had manifested itself on six sides of wax.

Tracks were put together from an initial blank canvas, and as the band themselves emphasize, “We got pretty tactical in the approach. We have certainly noticed that the emphasis has shifted from full on ‘throw everything at it’ Gnod vibes to a more stripped spacious sound which was not fully intentional but more of a natural progression” Spoken word contributions, many from Islington Mill inhabitants and seers, vie for attention with gridlike and vicious beats, synapse-shifting modular synthesis, field recordings. and even the hitherto unheard appearance of saxophone and electric piano textures.

As Gnod put it. “We really like the idea of a Rhodes and sax on a Gnod record, because to most people those instruments are pure cheese, but we think they are pure soul”

This 110-minute opus, fearless in spirit and limitless in scope, documents the unstoppable motion of an iconoclastic force beyond the comprehension of the unenlightened. A transmission from a collective consciousness that touches on universal truths and dark powers alike, and a bold new chapter in this mercurial collective’s glorious passage into the unknown. Yet now as ever, In Gnod We Trust. 

AIAIAI

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    Merzbow, Mats Gustafsson, Balazs Pandi, Thurston Moore

    Cuts Of Guilt, Cuts Deeper

    How did renowned Japanese noisemaker Merzbow (aka Masami Akita), Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi follow up their majorly intense statement made on their tumultuous debut album, Cuts, which was released in 2013. By adding another ingredient to the volatile mix, in the person of skronking guitar hero and Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore they’ve taken things up a notch or two on the Richter scale on their RareNoise Records follow-up recording. With Gustaffson’s roaring baritone sax blending with Moore’s shriekback guitar, Pandi’s intensely throbbing beats and Merzbow’s subversive white noise barrages, it all adds up to a sonic pummelling of epic proportions on the remarkable two CD-set, Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper.

    For Cuts of Guilt, Cuts Deeper, the four kindred spirits went into the studio and came up with four extended tracks. CD 1 is comprised of the 20-minute “replaced by shame, only two left” and the 18- minute “divided by steel, falling gracefully.” CD 2 contains the dynamic 21-minute jam “too late, too sharp -- it is over” and the extreme anthem “all his teeth in hand, asking her once more.” Drummer Pandi calls it ‘mystery in sound.’ As saxophonist Gustafsson said of their purely improvised session, “We had no game plan. That usually does not work so well. It all depends on the day, the energy and of course the room. And oh boy, that room was freakin’ spectacular! It actually had a skateboard ramp! It was a truly spectacular recording. It went super-fast -- just a wall of noise-poetry with layers and perspectives changing all the time. And to have Thurston Moore in the mix just added colours, layers, energies and sound. It was a very inspired sharing with the others.” Pandi provides a bit of history on the evolution of this Cuts quartet. “There is a legendary Roskilde live recording of Sonic Youth with Mats and Masami called ‘Andre Sider Af Sonic Youth’ and as a combination of that record and my longstanding duo with Masami, the idea came to try and play a quartet. Those were the days of the last couple Sonic Youth shows in South America, around 2012.

    Following that, Masami, Mats and I continued to work as a trio. Meanwhile, in 2013 I got invited to join Porn for a string of gigs. Porn masterminded by Tim Moss and Bill Gould from Faith No More and for the London shows Thurston joined us on stage - it was great fun to play together. When we hung out backstage, we were talking about trying to hook up a quartet session sometime with Mats and Masami again. We already had a gig planned with the trio in London, where Thurston currently lives, so we figured the only day he is spending around that time in London is the one we had for recording the follow album up to Cuts. So he was on board immediately.” As for how this new Cuts project with Moore may differ from their first Cuts outing, Pandi remains philosophical. “From my side, I can’t really talk about differences. I don’t approach anything differently. There are no tactics, concepts, nothing. Only deep listening and playing accordingly. I learned that from Masami early on. The night of our very first show, I approached him backstage, introducing myself. As it was the first time we met, I thought we would sit down and discuss any concept he may have wanted to talk through. But when I asked him about it, he only said one word -- ‘improvisation.’ That’s how it always is with Masami. And that’s how we approached this new recording in the studio.

    Musicians: Merzbow (Masami Akita) : Noise Electronics
    Mats Gustafsson : Reeds And Live Electronics
    Thurston Moore : Electric Guitar
    Balazs Pandi : Drums

    The sound of the fifth Benoit Pioulard full length is lush and verdant, a temperate rain forest of ear ecstasy that reflects the environment surrounding the artist. A mostly instrumental work, it is an adept melding of song and sound, melody and texture, the intangible and the palpable, that in an abstract sense recalls the more fractured and loose end of the 70ʼs krautrock movement.

    "The basis of the album was a series of field recordings of tones and unintentional harmonies that I made in the summer & fall of 2013 - whistling industrial air conditioners, bird songs, locust drones, washing machines - that I mimicked or interpreted on the guitar, making loops that developed into fuller compositions. Several of the pieces are recreations of harmony loops that I heard in a series of extraordinarily vivid dreams, and then woke up and recorded. A few pieces had lyrics and vocal parts that I ultimately removed; at a certain point the album became an exercise in restraint, so I strove to leave only what I felt absolutely essential.

    Unlike most of my previous recordings, there are no digital / software after-effects on the album; all sounds are from analog tape and / or my few guitar pedals." Thomas Meluch (Benoit Pioulard).

    Relapse is proud to make The Zombi Anthology formally available for the first time ever. Previously made available by the band themselves (over 10 years ago) in an extremely limited, CD-only run, this is the first time that Zombi's very first recordings have ever been available in stores. The Zombi Anthology represents Zombi at the peak of their horror-score obsession. Check out where it all began! Recommended if you like: Goblin, the film-scores of John Carpenter and Fabio Frizzi, Trans Am.

    "Analog synthesizer-based horror soundscapes" - PULP.

    “With analog synths set to “stun”, the Pittsburgh duo sound like the soundtrack from a lost John Carpenter film.” – ALTERNATIVE PRESS.

    “crisp sequences signal the past triumphs of Tangerine Dream, Moroder, Klaus Schulze, and Robert Schroeder.” - Sea of Tranquility. 

    “one heck of a synth-led journey...Definitely a "headphone album" in the classic sense” - All Music.



    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: Limited white vinyl.


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