Review: Thewhitehorse – Wine-Dark Sea (Needle and Knife, Jul 31)

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of a wall composition is the way in which it materializes. Some slowly fade in, others break through with a deafening blast of volume, etc.—and these different inceptions are often closely associated with the presence of the wall itself. In the case of Wine-Dark Sea, the newest release from Texas-based artist Sean E. Matzus as Thewhitehorse, the wall’s entry into the listener’s consciousness takes the form of a swelling, enveloping motion, the dense folds of crackling rumbles seeming to curl around and surround. The force of the noise comes from below, like a thriving bonfire, but the claustrophobic effect created by Matzus’s meticulous layers is one more reminiscent of a large body of water—ergo Wine-Dark Sea. Matzus’s unyielding sea of sound is as dark, overwhelming, and terrifying as its title, a lush wall that takes a subversive route to achieve the unmistakable feeling of being buried or engulfed: one of aquatic fluidity.

Mix: Hidden Humanity

This one is about how the most earnest emotional expression can be found amongst the furthest edges of “music.” A collection of works, improvisations, and excerpts from artists whose creations are removed and subversive yet profoundly personal.

Shots

00:00. Daniel Löwenbrück – “Gebet in den Wind” from 1800m (Recordings for the Summer, 2014)

05:25. John Collins McCormick – “5” from One Bone in the Arm (Pan y Rosas Discos, 2018)

07:21. Shots – excerpt from A side of Up Front (Bánh Mì Verlag, 2016)

10:20. Jean Tinguely – excerpt from B side of Bascule VII (Manhood, 1994)

12:14. Yeast Culture – “Feral Fleeces Falling in Flannel Flurries and Fit for Felting” from Shit on a Shingle (Petri Supply, 2013)

14:56. Hardworking Families – “Illy Alley” from BA / LS / BN (Beartown, 2016)

20:51. Hangjun Lee & Martin Tétreault – excerpt from A side of Film Walk (Crustacés, 2017)

23:18. 010001111000 – “okasi yarou” from lmof (Vitrine, 2015)

28:47. Alyssa Festa – “websdr_recording_2017-07-06T22-05-51Z_3924.8kHz” from Alyssa Festa (A R C H I V E, 2018)

33:24. GX Jupitter-Larsen – “Radio Abrasion 2013” from 30/4 compilation (Fragment Factory, 2013)

37:20. JS Hogan – excerpt from Ahh, I See Pan (Y.A.L. Sounds, 2016)

Review: Byte.clone – Crossover Distortion (Bit Rot, Jul 28)

I think that glitch and data-based music will always be enthralling to me not only because of its volatility, but also due to a certain surreptitiousness that it always seems to have, like it’s not something that’s meant to be heard by human ears. Even when processed using direct action by the artist or composer, as is the case with Jukka-Pekka Kervinen’s modified sound chips, there’s a sense of innate unpredictability, a feeling that the abstract textures at work can never be completely controlled. Crossover Distortion revels in this unavoidable digital whimsy, shakily constructing itself upon a ever-shifting base of piercing zaps, synthetic rumbles, and plasticky drones, all of whose permanence is constantly in flux. There’s no real overarching movement or structure to any of the six ambiguously titled tracks, but here the words “directionless” and “ambling” are not negative descriptors; adding any more order to these inherently erratic sounds would introduce a new, human-induced artificiality, stifling that which gives the music its enrapturing uniqueness in the first place.