Spooky sounds starting this evening for a night of evocative experimental music.
Casey Bebenek - Your reflection echoes through the corridors (excerpt) [Casey Bebenek Bandcamp]Casey Bebenek - You are no longer of this world (excerpt) [Casey Bebenek Bandcamp]
Melbourne composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer Adam Casey’s main musical outlet for some years was the band The Boy Who Spoke Clouds. Their delayed last album was released earlier this year, but in the meantime he moved his focus to a duo with drummer Julia Bebenek, with whom he has been creating one engrossing, beautiful longform piece a month all year. I’m sad that I’ve only just caught up with this material – most tracks are too long to play even on my show, but I would have been excerpting them earlier I’m sure! Double bass features extensively (often mournfully bowed), but so does piano, guitar, hurdy gurdy... sonic beds are created from slow loops or field recordings, and percussion rolls around the sound stage. There’s a pervasive sense of melancholy, but also of peace. You should definitely spend a few hours with these pieces.
Ryan Lott - inversion myth [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]Ryan Lott - breathing cycle [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]Ryan Lott - jittering cry [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]Ryan Lott - tether shift [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
In 2008 alt-hip-hop label Anticon released a rather incredible debut album of neoclassical indietronica from Son Lux. At the time it was a solo outlet for the song-based material of composer Ryan Lott. Over time it’s become a full-blown band in its own right, and meanwhile Lott has composed works for dance, theatre and film (as well as classical music for music’s sake) under his own name. Recently, he released a series of 4 EPs (with more to come!) grouped as learning structures, all works originally commissioned for contemporary dance – including works going back before that first Son Lux album was released. With strings, piano, lots of electronic processing and some percussion, it’s a real pleasure to listen and return to.
Matthew Collings - Blackwater [Denovali/Bandcamp]Matthew Collings - Vasilia [Denovali/Bandcamp]Matthew Collings - S Wave [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Scottish composer Matthew Collings released a number of indie/electronic/ambient albums under the name Sketches for Albinos, but with Splintered Instruments in 2013 turned to composition which, like Ryan Lott, melds fizzling, rumbling electronics with classical instruments (as we hear tonight, he hadn't entirely abandoned vocals for that first solo album). He’s also half of the experimental indie duo Graveyard Tapes with Euan McMeeken and has released a couple of amazing albums with Dag Rosenqvist. Following 2016’s Requiem for Edward Snowden, an audiovisual work with strings and electronics which focused on surveillance society, new album Uzonia grapples with with post-Trump, post-Brexit age of ascendant fascism and tries to imagine something utopian.
Inga-Lill Farstad - Smalsoldogg [eilean records/Bandcamp]
As the great French label eilean records nears the end of its self-prescribed 100 releases, the consistency of quality isn’t letting up one bit. Norwegian artist Inga-Lill Farstad had a duo called Children and corpse playing in the streets, and has also worked on a number of releases from Benjamin Finger, but appears here solo for the first time. The sounds here have a strange mix of innocence and disquiet, and with subtle manipulations to instruments, field recordings and vocals but also beautiful, patient chord progressions.
Mamiffer - All That is Beautiful [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]Mamiffer - River of Light [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]Faith Coloccia recently released her second solo album under the name Mára, an outlet for ambient piano and vocals, and tape experiments. It’s a joy to also have a new album, The Brilliant Tabernacle, from her longstanding band Mamiffer, for some time now formed around her and her husband, ISIS/SUMAC/Old Man Gloom maestro Aaron Turner. Here Coloccia’s lovely songs and piano are buttressed by full arrangements including Turner’s guitar, drums from the great Jon Mueller, additional vocals from Zen Mother’s Monica Khot (who has released music on Coloccia & Turner’s SIGE Records as Nordra), Veronica Dye’s flute and string arrangements from Eyvind Kang. From an excellent catalogue, it’s probably Mamiffer’s best work yet, like her recent Mára work an exploration and celebration of becoming a mother for the first time – and there really is something life-affirming going on here. Turn it up loud, put it on repeat.
Aaron Turner - Attar Datura [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
At almost the same time, Coloccia’s husband Aaron Turner has put out his first release under his own name (previous solo work was as House of Low Culture). It’s based around the distorted abstractions of his guitar, but on the third track the abrasiveness lets up for a piece of sustained bass tones and tape-manipulated trumpet samples – at least initially.
Liturgy - EXACO I [Liturgy]Liturgy - Vitriol [Thrill Jockey/Liturgy Bandcamp]Liturgy - VIRGINITY [Liturgy]Liturgy - EXACO II [Liturgy]
And now the metal leanings of the last two acts gives way to a real black metal band – or are they? Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has an uneasy relationship with black metal, and has stretched the medium (and the friendship potentially) over Liturgy’s albums. Released digitally this week, H.A.Q.Q. simultaneously returns to some more black metal-style vocalisations and also takes Liturgy as far away from metal as it’s ever been, with glitchy piano & classical-sounding interludes and very weirdly shaped songs (he loves the glitch, and I’m down with that!) As this show isn’t naturally geared towards metal, I’ve selected some less-representative tracks along with a reminder of the previous opus, the extraordinary The Ark Work.
Ben Carey - Peaks [Hospital Hill]
Sydney musician Ben Carey is an accomplished saxophonist as well as technological interfaces, and has recently become fascinated with modular synthesis. His new release Antimatter on Hospital Hill documents some of his modular work, sometimes quite abstract, sometimes full of burbling synths, odd harmonies and dischords and quasi-rhythms. This first track slowly growsc rather satisfyingly into a sputtering mass of sound.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.