MAGIC MIX

avant . leftfield . post-rock . drone . experimental

WEEK STARTING 12 Jul

Genre pick of the week Cover of Irrational Overcast by K. Leimer.
Legendary American ambient musician and electronic pioneer Kerry Leimer arrives at his 20th solo album with the haunting and uplifting “Uncertain Instructions”, the perfect introduction to his latest creation. Featuring the classic hallmarks that K. Leimer has become famous for, with light drifting piano punctuating the dense undercurrent of synth work and samples. Spliced vocal lines add an air of earthliness to the heavenly piece, emphasizing a sense of human fragility. As the LP continues and Leimer works his magic across a further six compositions, we continue to hear a fresh and timeless sound, a statement to his unfailing talent after four decades in the game.

Kerry includes this transcript to accompany "Irrational Overcast":

"Authoritarian ideas that have persisted somewhere in the depths of human nature for millennia have resurfaced at a crucial moment for the environments we all inhabit — natural, cultural, intellectual and economic. The power and influence of this ideology will again prove catastrophic, as it already has for many people in many parts of the world. Authoritarianism, along with the refutation of our shared responsibility to one another and to objective knowledge in favor of personal gain & gratification consistently lead to disaster. Yet, somehow, a significant number of people seem to feel that this time will be different. To some extent they are right. It will be infinitely worse.

Irrational Overcast is preoccupied with the perpetual failings of human tribalization, of assuming dominance over nature, of choosing belief and ideology over objective reality. The impetus was brought into immediate focus by the destructive impulses and actions of such excrescences as the Trump Administration and his republicans, as well as the blatant dishonesty and bigotry of thousands more retrograde, ill-informed nihilists operating in and outside the pubic sphere.

I do not profess that music — especially an experimental, lyric-free music — can change or influence such circumstances. But this is the context in which we now live, and this has shaped the music of Irrational Overcast — a coping mechanism for living under clouds of baseless beliefs and simplistic ideologies that disfigure and stifle what is an admittedly difficult though really quite lovely world. Music, to my mind, can not clearly express anything so literal, or metaphoric, or allegoric — but Irrational Overcast makes the effort to articulate the problems created by some enduring and banal aspects of human behaviour. Which is the reason it is built of lo-fi, deformed emergent or regressing or fragmented phrases, subsumed by distortion, noise, wow and flutter… and played with the understanding that there can be no more bedtime stories." 


A misty glow flows along the recumbent silhouette of Kayla Guthrie’s new EP, "Falling Star". This is the body of the artist as aural ghost, her figure lit by shuddering rhythms and synthesized echoes, and she knows what she is doing when she stands in front of that light. Not only did she build it but she has written all about it, gathered the notes and transcribed the lyrics onto paper that is as sunshine. Guthrie is dazed and dazzling with so much light, yet the clouds roll in toward the light every time. Her translucent voice lifts your hem and so tender is her bite, so weird, so intense. This is new music spinning fast in a dance with archangels (Jarboe, Cocteau Twins, Lydia Tomkiw and Leslie Winer) and barreling straight through heaven’s gate.

Mixed by Ben Greenberg. Cut by Josh Bonati. Photography by Lena Shkoda, lettering by Will Sheldon. Edition of 200.




Melvins

Houdini

    The iconic fifth album Houdini by the Melvins captures the band’s power, vision, and musical strangeness. It’s an essential ‘90s release, combining elements of grunge with hard rock and sludge metal. Their biggest commercially success and first major label release is an album where they displaying the full width of their musical abilities. Buzz Osbourne’s guitar sound is deep and heavy and combined with Dale Crover’s powerful drum rolls and fills it sounds really impressive. Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) added his guitar skills to the track “Sky Pup” and plays the part of percussionist on “Spread Eagle Beagle”. It’s one of the most accessible Melvins albums and the gateway to explore more records by the band. Houdini is the ultimate Melvins classic and a must have for every grunge and music fan in general. 

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: 180g audiophile silver coloured vinyl, limited to 1500 copies.

    Melvins

    Stag

      The popular and influential American rock band The Melvins recorded their eight studio album Stag in 1996. It doesn’t sound like anything they recorded before, because they exploring new fields of music. The first notes of opener “The Bit” make it clear that they’re experimenting by bringing together the drone sounds of the sitar with the greatness of King Buzzo’s guitar riffs. The schizophrenia can be heard in the introductions of noise and ambience. The album even includes prog based music, like in the epic “Buck Owens”. It’s one hell of a ride, from sludge metal and experimental grunge to blues rock and pop. Another classic tune is “Bar-X and The Rocking M”, which explores the power of the trombone.

      Starting at the early days of The Melvins guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover created some influential pieces and are releasing records nowadays on a yearly basis. The variety of different musical styles they explored during their career made them popular in different fanbases. 

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Coloured LP Info: 180g audiophile silver coloured vinyl, limited to 1000 numbered copies.

      Melvins

      Stoner Witch

        The true gods of the stoner underground music, the Melvins, released their album Stoner Witch in 1994. The album is one of their most successful releases and one where their musical capacities can be felt in the depth, powerful and experimental sounds. It melds the sound of their earlier records with some ambient and hardcore melodies. The monster anthem “Revolve” is a true masterpiece that breathes the southern rock and brings a handful of well crafted riffs. Another epic track and one of the best recordings by the Melvins is “At the Stake”. “Queen” is a much more radio friendly approach, but even in this song you’ll feel their traditional sound.

        The Melvins can be classified as one of the most versatile bands. They recorded albums which mixed influences from blues, pop, metal, rock, grunge and doom music. Even now they’re still performing and recording music like there’s no time to waste.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Coloured LP Info: 180g audiophile silver coloured vinyl, limited to 1000 numbered copies.

        Mono

        Hymn To The Immortal Wind (10 Year Anniversary Edition)

          To commemorate the 20th anniversary of MONO – and the 10th anniversary of their most iconic album Temporary Residence Ltd. proudly presents Hymn to the Immortal Wind – Anniversary Edition. Beautifully remastered from the original analog master tapes by Bob Weston at Chicago Mastering Service, this super deluxe reissue sounds, looks, and feels more pure and powerful than ever before. The CD format has been repackaged in a gorgeous full-color gatefold jacket with metallic gold inks, matte varnish, and custom inner sleeve. The 2xLP vinyl format is packaged in a mind-blowing full-color, custom die-cut jacket with metallic gold foil stamping, matte varnish, and 7 interchangeable full-color cover inserts. The vinyl is pressed onto 100% virgin, audiophile-quality vinyl. No expense was spared in properly honoring what has become MONO’s most beloved album. 

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          2xColoured LP Info: Indies Only Metallic Ocean Blue & Green vinyl.

          2xColoured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

          North Sea Radio Orchestra

          I A Moon

            REISSUE / REPRESS of NSRO's critically acclaimed third album from 2011.

            "Chamber pop pastoralists make great leap forward... Who knew that what the music of Steve Reich has been crying out for all these years is a Krautrock makeover?" MOJO 4**** 'What makes the North Sea Radio Orchestra so special is Fortnam's gift for orchestration, the deft and original way he puts deceptively simple materials in the hands of sophisticated performers. Melody pours from his pen on every page.' The Guardian *****

            On this release, the influences apparent on the first two albums (Britten, Vaughan Williams, Reich, ISB, 70's prog) have been augmented by a distinct whiff of Krautrock

            Luc Pestang & Pierre Henry

            Saint-Exupery

            During his long and illustrious career the French composer and musique concrète pioneer Pierre Henry created a lare amount of incidental music to accompany literary texts, both on record and for the stage, from Jules Verne to Victor Hugo, from Lautréamont to Antonin Artaud. This incredibly rare LP from 1959 is a radio play about the life of French pilot and writer Antoine de Saint Exupéry, based on the 1956 book by Luc Estang on the subject. The interpreters are a small theater troupe including French actor Paul Meurisse (1912-1979), famous for popular films and as a member of national theater company, La Comédie Française. Underlying key scenes, Pierre Henry’s contribution to the play consists of electronic and musique concrète sounds, adding a contemporary dimension to the text. A beautiful piece from one of the mid-20th century's truly brilliant sonic explorers.

            Alternative Fox delivers a landmark release in the history of minimalism with a live performance documented from one of the genre’s key figures - Steve Reich. Recorded live at Berkeley University in the 1970s (home also to key minimalism figures Terry Riley and La Monte Young), this performance sees Reich deliver some of his now legendary compositions, such as the shifting tape-loop experimentation of "My Name Is", whereby vocals are cut up, looped and played at different speeds to create constantly shifting combinations. Similar to his "It’s Gonna Rain", it’s utterly disorientating and makes for an absorbing listening whilst doffing a cap to cut-up techniques championed by early Dadaists and later Brion Gysion and Burroughs. The two-part "Piano Phase" demonstrates the effects of playing minimalistic notes on two separate pianos at slightly different speeds, so the two drift in and out of phase with each other. The effects are highly meditative, causing subtle rhythmic mutations throughout the piece, whilst "Phase Patterns" explores a similar technique albeit with a grainer electric organ. Last but not least, "Four Organs" explores the effects of sustained chords on multiple organs, set amongst a perpetual maraca, whereby the combination of interlocking chords on the separate instruments amalgamate to form a dense, textured tonal tapestry.

            Suicide

            Suicide - Art Of The Album Edition

              By the Summer of 1969 the US hippie dream lay in tatters but the cultural influence exerted by New York City would echo loudly through the decades that followed and no louder than it did with the incendiary electronic NYC duo, Suicide, who came to notoriety nearly a decade later. If dismissive at first, the music press have gone through something of a dramatic U-turn in more recent years with many mainstream publications now regarding Suicide’s 1977 debut as a stone cold classic.

              It sits at #39 in Pitchfork’s Top 100 Albums Of The 1970s; it placed at #441 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time; and reached #236 in NME’s The 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.

              Four decades later, we are only just now counting the positive cost of their influence across genres such as techno, noise, electro clash, goth, synth pop, psych and industrial. However, a sense of their vital impact can be discerned from the number of cover versions of Suicide tracks there are delivered by the likes of Pearl Jam, Bruce Springsteen, Peaches and R.E.M. Elsewhere they have had been praised widely by Nick Cave, Jim Thirlwell and M.I.A. and count Jason Pierce (Spacemen 3/ Spiritualized), Lydia Lunch, Nik Void of Factory Floor and Savages as fans. This Art Of The Album edition of Suicide sees the record remastered and presented in its original form and packaging, with in-depth liner notes covering the context, craft, impact and legacy of the album.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              Ltd LP Info: Deluxe edition celebrating the album as an art form, with in-depth liner notes covering the context, craft, impact and legacy of the album.
              Plus exclusive 12" sleeve art print.
              Limited edition red vinyl.

              Following 2017’s Infinite Avenue and 2013’s Sleeper, Both Lines Will Be Blue is Carmen’s first full instrumental album. A 7 track collection of cosmic excursions and dubby ambient-jams, the album is written, recorded, played, produced and mixed by Carmen in her Oslo studio. The soothing atmospherics are made up of tapestries of field recordings, synths, piano, drum-programming, zither and modular sounds. Throughout, Carmen’s music is colored by experimenting with different sounds and learning new techniques or by adding new instruments to the mix

              "I’ve been playing around with instrumentals for a long time, and it was something I wanted to do more with after I finished Infinite Avenue,” says Carmen. “Leaving out my voice and lyrics got me out of my own head a bit, which I needed. Working with sound is to me the ultimate meditation and is a more unconscious way of expressing whatever is going on inside.”

              The flute, played by Chilenean-Norwegian Johanna Scheie Orellana (formerly of Sassy 009), is a central part of this new album. Carmen got her in to the studio to both record melodies that she had written, as well as making plenty of room for impro/freeform. Prins Thomas also appears on the record, playing percussion on “I Could Sit Here All Day.”

              “I made this track based on a Roland SH-101 sequence run through various processing,” says Villain. “The whole thing came together kind of like a jam, I wrote the flute in one take, and it just felt right. I wanted real flute on this, so asked Johanna if she'd like to come in, and we've been collaborating ever since.”



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