avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 12 Aug

Genre pick of the week Cover of I Survived, It's Over by Rich Ruth.

Rich Ruth

I Survived, It's Over

    Recorded under a loft bed in the guest bedroom of his Nashville home, Michael Ruth aka Rich Ruth’s “I Survived, It’s Over” starts in a humble space. And while many contemporary music projects are produced in such an environment, “I Survived, It’s Over” sets itself apart in its transformative properties as well as its transparency. What we have here is honest sound exploration, session musician-level instrumentation, and a true love for nature run through the fingers of a dude who can channel some acute and undeniable magic.

    This music goes deep.

    "I conceived much of this record amidst the quiet and tumult of 2020 in my neighborhood that had recently been ravaged by a tornado," Ruth recalls, "I spent most of my days working on these pieces between bicycle rides - watching the beautiful Tennessee ecosystem flourish in Shelby Park, listening to Keith Jarrett’s The Koln Concert and John Coltrane’s Ascension."

    Underneath the swell of the strings and the shredding of the guitars, this record has hard working, rustbelt, drum-heavy roots all over it (which makes sense as Ruth hails from outside of Toledo, the album was mixed by John McEntire from Chicago band Tortoise). Many of the flutes, saxophones, pedal steel, and other instruments were recorded remotely because we live in the future, but this only adds to the collage of sampled and sample-able material that Rich Ruth has to offer. The organic relationships between the artist and other musicians on the album is evident even in the compilation style sampling that needs to occur in putting such a project together.

    "Working on this music is a daily meditation," says Ruth. "I constantly experiment with sound until it reflects the way I am feeling and attempt to sculpt something meaningful from it. Through years of being a touring musician, it is a constant inspiration and privilege to collaborate with the individuals that graced this record with their voices." And those relationships pay off, because “I Survived, It’s Over” is a sonic meal. It’s rich (no pun intended) with massive instrumentation that’s usually reserved for more symphonic delights. But at the same time it’s simple and leaves space to breathe–space you didn’t know you needed.

    In his own words; "I Survived, It’s Over is a meditation on healing, confronting trauma, surrendering, and finding peace. I wanted to encapsulate the tranquility and disarray found within this process."

    Ruth’s heart and the peace that his presence produces is all over this album. And despite his midwestern humility and willingness to brush off any praise, he’s put together something really special that carries its own weight. It's the kind of record that only comes around every once in a while and it's worthy of all the head-bobs, acclaim, and celebratory potlucks that Mike and the gang have coming their way.

    “I Survived, It’s Over” is a record you should buy for your friend, your foe, and yourself. It’ll sit perfectly on your shelf between Alice Coltrane and Hiroshi Yoshimura.

    TRACK LISTING

    SIDE 1
    1. Taken Back
    2. Older But Not Less Confused
    3. Desensitization And Reprocessing
    4. Heavy And Earthbound

    SIDE 2
    1. Thou Mayest
    2. Angel Slide
    3. Doxology

    Boris

    Heavy Rocks (2022)

      The legendary BORIS celebrate a 30 year career as one of experimental music's most forward-thinking, heavy, and innovative bands with the new album Heavy Rocks (2022). Continuing their series of Heavy Rocks records, BORIS once again channels the classic proto-metal sounds of the 70s into something all new. The album, 10 pulse-pounding tracks, highlight the very trajectory of BORIS and their storied career - from the driving, fuzzed out Rock N' Roll opener "She is Burning", to the punk, raucous "My Name is Blank", BORIS are heavier than ever before. "Question 1" is just kickass - D-beats give way to a doomed, spaced out and heavier-than-anything guitar wailing and feedback, before diving back into their Metal, sending the listener into a complete frenzy. This is unmistakably BORIS, and this is the band at the height of their powers. Elsewhere on the record, a more daring, "out there" side of the band begins to shine on tracks such as the aptly titled "Blah Blah Blah", the industrial "Ghostly Imagination" and the truly wild "Nosferatou". Noisy passages (not unlike prior collaborations with legendary artists like Merzbow,) collide with visceral vocal howls while a relentless, almost Zornian-saxophone shreds harder than any guitar solo ever could. In 2022, BORIS cement what Heavy Rock means to them, and release one of their most captivating records to date.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. She Is Burning
      2. Cramper
      3. My Name Is Blank
      4. Blah Blah Blah
      5. Question 1
      6. Nosferatou
      7. Ruins
      8. Ghostly Imagination
      9. Chained
      10. (not) Last Song

      Coil

      Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil

        The turn of the millennium ushered in an apex visionary phase for English esoteric duo Coil. Relocating from the city to the coastal quiet of Westonsuper-Mare freed them to follow even more fringe obsessions, fully untethered from peer influence. During a single six-month stretch in 2000 they released the devious underworld sequel to Music To Play In The Dark, arcane drone summit Queens Of The Circulating Library, and a malevolent hour-long synthesizer exorcism prophetically titled Constant Shallowness Leads To Evil. This latter work remains one of the group’s most miasmic and mind-expanding creations, on par with Time Machines – a sustained divination of shuddering, psychoactive noise, rippling with the motion sickness of an all-seeing eye.

        Thighpaulsandra characterizes the album as “an exercise in brutality,” born from a thorny patch of his Serge modular unit that Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson found entrancing. Processing this sliver of electronics into a ravaged labyrinth was a trial and error process, aided by Christopherson’s visual sense of sound, stretching and manipulating it for maximum spatial disorientating. Frequencies nauseously crawl across the stereo field, burrowing into the ear like a sinister brainwashing experiment. An outlier / centerpiece is the 13-minute alien tribalist sea shanty, “I Am The Green Child,” guided by John Balance’s sung-spoken free verse concerning vengeance, oblivion, and insanity, culminating in the memorable refrain, “We're swimming in a sea of occidental vomit.” But the rest of the record seethes in unhinged instrumental chaos, divided into 18 micro-movements of a composition called “Tunnel Of Goats.” Intended to scramble the functionality of a CD player’s shuffle mode, the piece throbs, thrashes, and flatlines in compressed frenzies of twisted synthesis, at the threshold of some bottomless purgatory, forbidding and unknown.

        TRACK LISTING

        SIDE A:
        Higher Beings Command
        I Am The Green Child

        SIDE B:
        Beige
        Lowest Common Abominator
        Free Base Chakra

        SIDE C:
        Tunnel Of Goats

        SIDE D:
        Tunnel Of Goats

        Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom

        The Days Of Mars - Repress

          Our review from 2005:

          "DFA release their fourth artist album for 2005, following on from LCD Soundsystem, The Juan MacLean and Black Dice. 'Since everything we do is theatrical, our music becomes like a soundtrack' Delia explains, and how right she is! The world glimpsed on "Days Of Mars" is an incredibly vivid one, made by layering live takes of keyboards and other instruments, many designed and built specifically for making this LP. Touching upon their love of everything from Alice Coltrane to acid house, Santeria ritual music to the kosmiche side of krautrock, opener "Rise" draws on these touchstones while remaining true to Delia and Gavin's mesmerizing sound; repetitious sinewaves ripple and undulate to achieve a heightened state of awareness. "Black Spring" pulses and builds like a climax to a long-lost horror flick (think zombies or envision a post-apocalyptic world). To further strengthen the soundtrack theme, the duo are at work on a short film to go with the epic, expansive third track, "Relevee". The album closes with the Joy Division-hinting "Black Spring", another epic piece of electronic music from this essential DFA release."

          Elaine Howley

          The Distance Between Heart And Mouth

            Touch Sensitive Records proudly presents the Cork-based musician Elaine Howley’s debut solo album The Distance Between Heart and Mouth. The product of an audio diary kept on a 4 track cassette machine throughout 2019 and 2020, the album recreates the intimacy of a radio show filled with Howley’s favourite sounds, palettes, and textures; effortlessly joining the dots between pop and experimentation, summoning the kaleidoscopic world of Trish Keenan & Broadcast, the bruised lo-fi soul of Tirzah and the dubbed-out blues of Leslie Winer. Over nine patient, spontaneous self-recorded and produced tracks, Elaine Howley traces the outline of a small space that could be considered one of the longest journeys to be taken - The Distance Between Heart And Mouth.

            As a member of Crevice, Howlbux and, perhaps most notably, psychedelic rock group The Altered Hours, Elaine Howley is renowned as a singular voice in the Irish underground. The Distance Between Heart and Mouth is her most personal statement to date. “I was thinking a lot about the themes of silencing and communication,” she explains. “My voice and a lot of my feelings were buried and I wanted to push that out using music. That is the intention of this album - trying to be brave enough to share and to open up; along with the internal and external barriers that exist when it comes to doing that."

            The Distance Between Heart and Mouth is the product of an audio diary kept on a 4 track cassette machine throughout 2019 and 2020. Pulling on formative teenage musical influences alongside memories of a childhood spent home-recording Longwave 252 transmissions, Howley recreates the intimacy of a radio show filled with her favourite sounds, pallets, and textures; effortlessly joining the dots between pop and experimentation. "I brought all those early influences along with me. It was a private time to enjoy music - listening to my Walkman or making mixtapes. I hear the roots of the sounds I am drawn to beginning then. I found myself returning to, and recreating something of that time, for this record."

            The daily sit-down at her tape machine became an almost ritualistic experience over this period as Howley both experimented in sound and worked through her own vulnerabilities. “I wasn't burdening anyone or adding pressure to myself. I've always found music cathartic but this felt like a deeper level for me”. This release can be tangibly felt in lead single ‘Silent Talk’. “That track is about the urge to run and not share parts of myself but also about continuing to try to do that and about the patience people can show in waiting for me.” On second track ‘Autumn Speak’, we fully step into the album’s journey through the transition of Howley’s favourite season. “I was thinking about how resistance to decay through self preservation disrupts the process but cannot stop it and only serves to distort and delay. It’s a celebration of endings and allowing change to occur.” Such internal conflicts and strivings are captured sonically throughout the album as echoes and delays whirl into an endless expanse and samples run backwards and onwards.

            Themes regarding memory are also written throughout, particularly in ‘Song For Mary Black’, previously issued on Touch Sensitive’s ‘Wacker That’ compilation. “Mary Black was the first concert I saw and it had a huge impression on me. Growing up, I was a fan of the ‘A Woman’s Heart’ compilation of amazing Irish female voices. It made music feel closer to me than it had previously; it was local and it felt tangible. It reminded me of my Mam and Aunts.” Alongside those early inspiring voices and the defining sounds of her teenage years, we can hear the dubbed-out blues of Leslie Winer, the kaleidoscopic world of Trish Keenan & Broadcast, and the bruised lo-fi soul of Tirzah. Over nine tracks, Elaine Howley traces the outline of a small space that can be considered one of the longest journeys to be taken - The Distance Between Heart And Mouth

            TRACK LISTING

            Side A
            1. Silent Talk
            2. Autumn Speak
            3. Archeological Longing
            4. See Saw Seen
            5. To The Test

            Side B

            6. Buried Way Out
            7. Person Count
            8. Song For Mary Black
            9. SoSo

            Nurse With Wound

            The Ladies Home Tickler

              This expanded collection is the definitive version of The Ladies Home Tickler. An essential historical document for the new and lifelong NWW follower. Classic tape cut ups, radio sludge, surrealism and abstract chaos. The birth of NWW, a project that is now in its 5th decade. Recorded back 1980, the NWW line-up for these recordings was: Steven Stapleton: Record player, cassette machine, noise. Jim Thirlwell: Bass, ergonomic jack plug, Wasp. William Bennett: Guitar, Wasp.

              TRACK LISTING

              Side 1:

              A. Registered Nurse (The Second Coming/Come Organisation)
              B. BONUS TRACK- Nana Or A Thing Of Uncommon Nonsense

              Side 2:

              A. Back, Sack And Crack (Oxymoron Version, Automating Vol 1/United Dairies
              B. BONUS TRACK – Human, Human, Human…

              Side 3:

              A. Duelling Banjo’s (Hoisting The Black Flag/United Dairies)
              B. BONUS TRACK – Wisecrack

              Side 4

              A. Registered Nurse (Tickler Version)
              B. BONUS TRACK – Monsanto Moon Perfectly And Loving Remastered By Andrew Liles. 

              Emma Ruth Rundle

              EG2: Dowsing Voice

                Follows 2021’s critically lauded album Engine of Hell, which saw acclaim from Pitchfork, NPR, The Guardian, Stereogum, Consequence and more. Emma Ruth Rundle’s second installment in her Electric Guitar series, EG2: Dowsing Voice, is almost like the soundtrack to a film that hasn’t been made. The mostly instrumental record follows her on a trip to the Welsh coast and down a magical well into the waters of nature, myth and the Old Golds - by way of her improvised music. The 40 plus minute album was sewn together from recordings channeled during her month-long solo journey in the early days of 2020 and completed before 2021’s critically lauded album Engine of Hell was even written.

                Unlike Electric Guitar One, EG2: Dowsing Voice features vocal improvisation, unconventional singing and extended vocal techniques free from lyrics - like the throat singing on “In the Cave…” which is meant to be the voices of crones gathering in a rhythmic and physical ritual. Rundle was led to these voices by unseen forces along with the immense impact of the Welsh water: ocean, rivers springs and wells that gave the album its extended title Dowsing Voice. While there is some focus on vocal and story here, her textural and even bombastic guitar improvisations are featured throughout the album. For Rundle, the Electric Guitar series will always be about inspired, unplanned moments like this at its core.

                TRACK LISTING

                1. Intro To The Underpool: The Path, The Gate, The Field, The Well
                2. Keening Into FfynnonLlanllawer
                3. In The Cave Of The Cailleach's Death-Birth
                4. Gathering Around Pair Dadeni
                5. Brigid Wakes To Find Her Voice Anew. The Little Flowers And Birds Show Themselves
                6. Imbolc Dawn Atop Ynys Wydryn. Ice Melts As The First Resplendent Rays Of Spring Pour Over The Horizon.
                7. The Tempest On Trefasser
                8. Don Danann Dana Danu Ana
                9. Standing Stones Singing / Cellphone Towers Ringing Up ToThe Darkening Sky
                10. In Sadness For Our Dying World (here Come The Christians) 

                Spacemoth

                No Past No Future

                  No Past No Future is the debut album of psychedelic, space-pop artist Spacemoth. She's a highly sought after producer who's worked with Sad13, Toro Y Moi, Sasami and Tune-Yards who had a previous solo project under the alias Doe Eye but is now throwing herself into her love of vintage synths and tape machines, creating cosmic, lush soundbeds akin to Broadcast and Stereolab.

                  As Spacemoth's Maryam Qudus was hard at work in her recording studio, synthesizers piled high, she found her mind in another place, hypnotized by the questions swirling inside her: “How could I ever face this world alone?” she wondered. “How long will I be able to stay in this place that I love?” Attempting to understand her position in the universe, the relationships that hold her together, and the climate crisis unfolding around her, she realized ruminating over these concerns was paradoxically taking her away from precious experiences. No Past No Future is the reckoning point between nostalgia and nihilism: the struggle to hang on to a moment as it warps in time.

                  Devotion to music has driven Qudus—a performer, composer, and producer based in the Bay Area—for as long as she can remember. At age twelve, she traded chores for guitar lessons; at sixteen, she took on after school jobs to pay for voice lessons. As a first-generation Afghan-American child of working-class immigrant parents, finding a place in music has been nothing short of a challenge for Qudus.

                  The bulk of performance on Spacemoth songs comes from Qudus herself, who favors vintage synths like the Yamaha CS-50 and Korg Polysix alongside fluttering tape manipulations; these create cosmic, lush soundbeds, drawing comparisons to beloved projects like Broadcast and Stereolab. On songs like “Waves Come Crashing,” a whirlwind of noise leads into darker, bass-heavy instrumentation as she confronts the inevitability of death: “These fears, they have taken our years,” she laments about the anxiety of mortality. On “Pipe and Pistol,” Qudus explores the experience of being an immigrant starting over in America. The song showcases punchy rhythms, reminiscent of Devo’s post-punk dynamism: “I see your face / my powers, they raise,” she sings with potency. Identifying cyclical habits inspired “Round In Loops,” which highlights patterns we endure in our lives and minds. “Boss is waiting / we run / love is fading / we run,” Qudus commands, encouraging escapism and a break to the cycle of mundanity.

                  Every track flows with Qudus’ low timbered vocals, in harmony with the watery, glowing synthesizers that anchor the album. The result is a record rich in intergalactic, avant-pop, radiating in astonishment at the vast, emotional landscape humans contain within ourselves, and in wonder at the preciousness of our time on earth.


                  TRACK LISTING

                  1. Mind Modulation
                  2. This Shit
                  3. Pipe And Pistol
                  4. UFObird
                  5. Waves Come Crashing
                  6. L.O.T.F
                  7. Asking For You
                  8. Flutter Memory
                  9. Round In Loops
                  10. If I Close My Eyes And Pretend
                  11. Noises Of Everyday Life
                  12. Berries And Watch You Cry
                  13. No Past No Future


                  Back to top