Mix: Insubstantial Magnetics

As with the Crackle! mix I posted a bit ago, this one has a record that sort of exemplifies the concept. In this case, it’s Reynols’ 2000 release Blank Tapes, a collection of sublime collages constructed from the amplified sounds of the titular materials. To work with magnetic tape as a sound production source is to also work with insubstantiality, to carefully manipulate a fragile medium to repeat, change the speed, or otherwise alter a variety of sounds, and nothing captures that tenuous atmosphere than the use of tapes with hardly any recorded sound at all. This mix assembles my favorites of these adventures into the barest and most delicate of sonorities.

00:00. Reynols – second untitled track from Blank Tapes (Trente Oiseaux, 2000)

06:42. kNN – first untitled track from Several Audio Tests for Magnetophones and Magnetic Tapes (Falt, 2018)

11:18. Darksmith – “One” from Gypsy (Mom Costume, 2014)

14:15. Graham Lambkin – “Tape 2 (2001)” from Draining the Vats (Pineapple Tapes, 2006)

18:16. Andrea Borghi – “Entertainment – Omaggio a D.F. Wallace” from Musica per Nastro (Spectropol, 2012)

19:58. Giovanni Lami – “PPK4” from Bias (Consumer Waste, 2016)

26:57. Brian John Mitchell – “28” from Slang Vol. 3 (Veduin Hiss, 2018)

30:48. Termite Acropolis – “A Character to Develop New Moles” from Dedication in Vinegar (Round Bale, 2016)

34:51. Diurnal Burdens – “Cessation” from Cancelled Tangents (Falt, 2019)

Mix: Peculiar and Prophetic Post-Punk

As soon as you attempt to classify (in this case, a more vivid–and fitting–verb might be ‘coagulate’) an artistic movement as fearless and wide-ranging as the mass of eclectic avant-garde rock music that arose in the late 70’s and early 80’s, it begins to break down. While these bands and artists are commonly grouped under the umbrella term “post-punk,” much of it owes little debt to traditional punk, instead drawing from funk, jazz, industrial, surrealist art, krautrock, and many other areas. In addition to looking backward in time for inspiration, many artists arrived at remarkably prescient stylistic cocktails. The often rough, do-it-yourself music foreshadowed things whose full potential wouldn’t be realized until much later, working with anything from collage and primitive musique concrète to tribal rhythms and free improvisation. Here are my picks for the best examples of this awe-inspiring creativity, somewhat skewed towards obscurities that have been lost to time.

Lemon Kittens, 1981 (photo by Akiko Hada)

00:00. Mars – “Helen Forsdale” from No New York compilation (Antilles, 1978)

02:28. Clock DVA – “White Cell” from Thirst (Fetish, 1981)

07:00. A Certain Ratio – “Choir” from To Each (Factory, 1981)

09:44. L. Voag – “Living Room” from The Way Out (self-released, 1979)

12:11. 23 Skidoo – “IY” from Seven Songs (Fetish, 1982)

17:12. Lemon Kittens – “Nudies” from …The Big Dentist (Illuminated, 1982)

20:30. The Stick Men – “Tail Dragger” from This Is the Master Brew (Red, 1982)

22:32. Stutter – “These Are Small Times (Not Good Enough)” from Broken Snakes (Check, 1989)

25:31. D.A.F. – 8th untitled track from Produkt Der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft (Warning, 1979)

28:40. Savage Republic – “Flesh That Walks” from Tragic Figures (Independent Project, 1982)

32:00. Milk From Cheltenham – “Snappy Fingers” from Triptych of Poisoners (It’s War Boys, 1983)

34:31. Alternative TV – “Graves of Deluxe Green” from Vibing Up the Senile Man (Deptford Fun City, 1979)

Mix: Crackle!

Michel Waisvisz wasn’t the first to explore primitive electronic textures in improvisational music, but his 1978 album Crackle (whose title track gives this mix its name) signified more than that. The record was produced using Waisvisz’s self-invented cracklebox instrument, a notably personalized version of the plundered circuits used by so many (including myself). In my opinion, it’s just as important to seek out new sounds in everyday things as it is to make them using instruments with which we are already familiar. The piercing squeaks and grainy electric sputters of circuit bending have also become a recognizable and defining texture in modern electroacoustic improvisation.

Voice Crack (Norbert Möslang & Andy Guhl)

00:00. Michel Waisvisz – “Crackle” from Crackle (FMP, 1978)

02:28. Voice Crack – “Red Square” from Taken and Changed (Falsch, 1999)

08:27. English – “Senator Bustamente” from English (Copula, 2005)

14:24. Alexei Borisov & Phil Durrant – “Part 4” from In the Wood (Zeromoon, 2018)

19:37. Jazzkammer – “Bullets for Breakfast” from Timex (Rune Grammofon, 2000)

25:26. Yoshimitsu Ichiraku – “Machine Headz” from The Music of Surround Panner (Zero Gravity, 1998)

29:25. Takahiro Kawaguchi & Utah Kawasaki – “4:17” from Amorphous Spores (Erstwhile, 2015)

33:31. GOD – excerpt from Anti-Sex Anti-Wiretapping (Made in Taiwan) (Little Enjoyer, 2005)

36:40. Joe Colley – “Untitled Unstable Stereo Circuit” from Disasters of Self (Crippled Intellect, 2010)

Mix: Alone in the Wires

Some lullabies dug up from the depths of circuits and computers.

Pimmon – Secret Sleeping Birds

00:00. The Boats – “Harry, Stop It Please” from Faulty Toned Radio (flau, 2008)

02:39. Evala – “IN/TR02-05D” from Initial (Port, 2006)

07:54. /f – “11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5=96%” from The Fourth Bully (Psalmus Diuersae, 2016)

10:02. Faxada – “Month” from Paraa (Darling Recordings, 2018)

12:04. Alog – “Leyden Jar” from Miniatures (Rune Grammofon, 2005)

15:27. Microstoria – “Per Normal” from SND (Thrill Jockey, 1996)

20:36. Television Power Electric – “CCTV Channel 23” from Television Power Electric (Gentle Giant, 1999)

24:21. Ahnnu – “Informant” from Perception (Leaving, 2015)

30:05. Will Guthrie – “Fognap” from People Pleaser (Black Truffle, 2017)

33:17. Pimmon – “Bird Cage Circus” from Secret Sleeping Birds (Sirr, 2002)

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Mix: Object-ivity

If you’re at all familiar with experimental music or adventurous sounds in general, it’s not an uncommon sight to see a musician credited with playing “objects” in the liner notes of a release. “Object” is clearly not a very specific classification, but here we take it to refer to something whose primary purpose is not music-making yielding sound, whether melodic or textural. The field of sound art is often concerned with exploring the acoustic properties and potentials of such objects, and they are also used in abstract improvisational contexts or as unconventional percussion devices. The tracks selected for this mix range from the primitive junk-painting of early Japanese pioneers Group Ongaku to manipulations of electric circuits and robotics to layered compositions formed from recordings of household appliances. I love this kind of stuff for many reasons: the use of objects requires no formal musical training or knowledge, their unique timbres can be harnessed for such a wide variety of purposes, and, most importantly, unexpected beauty is the best kind of beauty. Enjoy.

Pictured: Sound artist Rie Nakajima, taken by Q-O2 Gallery

00:00. Group Ongaku – “Object” from Music of Group Ongaku (Hear Sound Art Library, 1996)

04:57. Akio Suzuki – “Aeolian Harp” from Odds and Ends (Hören, 2002)

08:49. Jean-Luc Guionnet & Thomas Tilly – “Window, contact recording #1” from Stones, Air, Axioms / Delme (Fragment Factory, 2018)

10:56. John Collins McCormick – “7” from One Bone in the Arm (Pan y Rosas, 2018)

14:32. Joe Colley – “Untitled Unstable Stereo Circuit” from Disasters of Self (C.I.P., 2010)

19:00. Annea Lockwood – “Water Gong” from Glass World of Anna Lockwood (Tangent Recordings, 1970)

24:48. Pierre Henry – “Balancement 2” from Variations Pour Une Porte Et Un Soupir (Philips, 1967)

27:23. Max Eastley – “Half Speed Metal Installation” from Installation Recordings 1973-2008 (Paradigm Discs, 2010)

31:14. Dirch Blewn – “Day 3” from Care Work (Soft Error, 2018)

36:01. Manja Ristić – “Buzzy & the Teapot” from Fairy & the River Teeth (Sonospace, 2018)

39:50. Jeph Jerman, Giacomo Salis & Paolo Sanna – 2nd untitled track from KIO GE (Confront Recordings, 2016)

43:24. Peter Brötzmann & Han Bennink – “Aufen 2” from Schwarzwaldfahrt (FMP, 1977)

45:52. Loren Chasse – “Arbor Pore I” from The Footpath (Naturestrip, 2008)

Mix: Japanese Hardcore, Old and New

While I think it’s strange to classify genres by the nationalities or races of the artists who fit under them, there is definitely a specific sound that comes to mind when I think of “Japanese hardcore.” It’s usually more aggressive, noisy, and eclectic, with many bands blurring boundaries between straight-up hardcore punk and other areas like noisecore, crust, and grind. Here are some of my favorites.

00:00. Gauze – “エッサホイサッサ” from 面を洗って出直して来い (XXX, 1997)

01:52. S.O.B. – “Hysteric to Temptation” from Don’t Be Swindle (Selfish, 1987)

03:22. Crow – “混沌神” from 血涙 (Prank, 2005)

07:21. Outo – “正直者は馬鹿を見る” from 正直者は馬鹿を見る (Selfish, 1987)

08:52. Lip Cream – “No Rules” from Kill Ugly Pop (Captain, 1986)

11:14. Friendship – “Rejected” from Hatred (Southern Lord, 2017)

12:25. Colored Rice Men – “Tumble Wind” from New Animal Life (Blood Sucker, 1999)

13:59. Kriegshög – “Heathen (Code Z)” from Kriegshög (La Vida Es Un Mus, 2010)

15:38. Kuro – “X / 絶望” from Who the Helpless (Blue Jug, 1984)

18:14. The Stalin – “水銀” from 虫 (Climax, 1983)

21:40. G.I.S.M. – “Document One” from Detestation (Dogma, 1983)

24:32. Boris – Third untitled track from Vein (Important, 2006)

26:12. Setsuna – “Worst Enemy” from Senseless Apocalypse (Conspiracy Evolve, 1997)

Mix: Short, Sweet, Shredding, Screamo

Here’s a very short mix of some of my favorite screamo songs. I tried to stick with some lesser known stuff, so you won’t see any Jeromes Dream or Orchid or the like in here (though I still love those bands). Enjoy!

00:00. Reversal of Man – “Get the Kid With the Sideburns” from Revolution Summer (Independence Day, 1998)

00:42. Phoenix Bodies – “Goddamn Pyramid Building Aliens” from split 7″ with Tyranny of Shaw (Init, 2004)

02:37. Frail Hands – “Dissolution” from Frail Hands (Middle-Man, 2017)

03:52. Ostraca – “Waiting for the Crash” from Last (Skeletal Lightning, 2017)

07:29. Улыбайся Ветру – “Навстречу времени” from Иллюзии (Upwind Productions, 2018)

08:58. Enkephalin – “One Punch Machine Gun” from split LP with Phoenix Bodies (Init, 2003)

11:11. Diploid – “It’s Not Safe” from Everything Went Red (Art As Catharsis, 2017)

12:49. Bucket Full of Teeth – “Capital Distracts and Imprisons” from IV (Level Plane, 2005)

14:10. Setsuko – “Child Without Brain” from The Shackles of Birth (Dog Knights Productions, 2018)

16:32. Masato Tanaka – “Mr. Bo Jangles’ Quest for Financial Solvency” from Demo (self-released, 2007)

17:23. Honeywell – “Screaming Numb Ears” from Industry (Mollycoddle, 1993)

18:50. Republic of Dreams – “Your Fahrenheit Is My Celsius” from split LP with Cloud Rat (IFB, 2012)

19:52. Maths – “Child Wandering Along the Thames” from The Fires Courting the Sea (Tangled Talk, 2015)

20:52. Arboles En Llamas – “San Expedito” from San Expedito (LaFlor, 2016)

22:06. Tristan Tzara – “Schizophrenia” from Da Ne Zaboravis (Shove, 2005)