lick out the jams: rfm on jute gyte, jamie drouin & hannes lingens, a.i.r tapes 1: excavation series 5 and yan jun & ben owen

June 10, 2017 at 10:03 am | Posted in new music, no audience underground | Leave a comment
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Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes)

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema)

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library)

Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki)

jute gyte

Jute Gyte – The Sparrow (X – Ray Records / Blue Tapes) Single-sided clear vinyl 12 inch with engraved ‘b’ side and digital album

The deeply psychedelic nature of Black Metal: the ingrained grot, indistinct momentum and distain of fancy technique hugely appeals to me.  This is ‘feeling music’ concerned with emotion above all.  Oh to be a Norwegian teenager in the early 90’s when it all kicked off!

But since those halcyon days both Black Metal and I have grown up (a little).  And while there is still plenty of room for true Norwegian Metallers you’re more likely to come across darkly-experimental artists like Jute Gyte in the scene than them church-burners and jail-birds.

The brittle bones of this particular beautiful stain begin with a red-tinged swooshing thunder.  The seemingly endless build galloping like Sleipnir over a one-chord velvet strum.

A plague of uncompromising screams mangle throats on the verge of panic making ‘The Sparrow’ seem almost old-school.  And then it all goes very quiet…

…ghostly clicks and reverberations tinker through my headphones, decaying and rotten smears of dark sound are punctuated with slowly-roasted, grumbling vocal.  The lack of volume has no affect on the intensity, as this restraint is uniquely spooked and unsettling.

Noise-mongers will rejoice when the guitars collapse back into the mix with a Shields-esque tremolo-effect fluttering like a thousand tiny birds – the sparrow perhaps in all its scruffy oil-slick glory!

The flip side (in reality a free-to-grab digital download when you buy this see-through disc) is orchestral in the best Metal mould.  Deep swathes of sound become a coal-black rainbow on ‘Monadanom’ arching across a cruel indifferent sky.

Through the tone-clusters thin-steel rattles and soars (like the metal strips used to bind blocks of house bricks). It’s very nature and chemistry dictates a signature sound – high and tight.

After thirteen minutes a number of these grim swooping arcs seem to lock into place revealing a new landscape, barren for sure but not without hope.

I think I hear slo-mo singing bowls wrestle with bronze fake gongs in the fading minutes; but perhaps the extremities of passion have blunted my ears.  Whatever is occurring that burnished boom is vibrating every atom in my head like an exquisite psalm.

This desert may be almost featureless but the stark beauty takes the breath away.

Music for moon landings!

 intonema digisleeve

Jamie Drouin & Hannes Lingens- Alluvium (Intonema) CD

A fitting title for this ear-silt; a subtle, almost-there, grit that builds up in pale layers.

The brief pieces (many around 3 minutes mark) all seem to document an action: unboxing something, gently bowing something, methodically rubbing something with cryptic knocks and wheezing adding hot spice.

Further investigation reveals these actions come via Jamie Drouin’s basic electronics and Hannes Lingen’s floor tom and/or snare drum as they listen intently to each other on expensive earphones.

It’s easy to imagine you are inside the friction (now the snake-like, descending hiss of uncoiling sellotape, now the busy scrub of glasspaper on marble) or the low electric moan (a dying medical machine, a looped breast pump) as it seems to bore inside your very soul.

For something so lowercase and subtle this Alluvium is exerting a powerful influence over my ear-bristles.

The sound itself is king and to keep the composition clear of unnecessary chaff, especially in a duo situation is testament to the control and lack of improvisers-ego in both Doruin and Lingens.  It’s only on ‘06’ – that deals in an ever-so-slightly more assertive sound – a rubbery raspberry that putters like an outboard motor – could you say these folk lick out anyone’s jams.

The longest piece ‘07’ is still loose-limbed and beautiful at a stately 15 minutes long.  It begins by conjuring up a polite crowd caught on malfunction mp3’s; the code starting to buckle and warp in that wonderful see-sawing motion.  Then a wet rope being twisted in the rigging interrupts the human recordings; some dry-heaving swells sing like angels and someone starts a terrible tap dance.

Truly sublime listening art.

air tape

Various Artists – A.I.R Tapes 1: Excavation Series 5 (Power Moves Library) Sold Out Cassette and free digital album

You had to move super fast to bag this tape in any physical form as it seemed to sell out, on both sides of the Atlantic, in a matter of days.  I felt like a chump to miss out but was happy to pick up the virtual scraps from the digital table thanks to the essential free download offered by the very generous Power Moves Library.

These well-curated mixtapes (and I use that term with awe and the greatest respect) come from vintage radio recordings of Indian Classical music captured ‘in the field’ by scholar and No Audience maven Phong Tran in 1996-97.

The fact Phong has plucked these transient recordings from the very air with a magpie’s ears makes this all the more magical.  This curation took dedication and judgement.  We are not worthy!

Side ‘A’ features some outrageously warped sitar playing, heavy as Sabbath but with that flat-fingered funk of Monk which just peaks and peaks and peaks; stuttering spoken word interludes; chewy toffee-like ragas that seem to stretch time when coupled with their reverberating tabla-bombs.  All jaggery sweet.

Impossibly deep rumbling strings open Side ‘B’ and play out some creation fantasy – this is real crack in the cosmic egg/universal ohm/blind idiot god territory.  Such supreme melancholy!  I’m close to welling up man.

A quick news update (in English) and more chat leads into some heart-breakingly sad singing that definitely pushes me over the edge.  But I’m not crying into my beer for long as the penultimate recording hauls ass, hurtling at impressively unwise speeds though (musical) hairpins and hard shoulders – the final fade-out fuzzes and fitz’ like the contemporary tape collage from the mighty Burselm slag heaps.

Do I need to say it?  Essential!

Ed’s note: just in case you missed it – all future Power Moves Library releases will be available in the UK via Crow versus Crow and vice versa for our friends in the Americas.  N-AU across the ocean la!

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Yan Jun & Ben Owen – Swimming Salt (Organised Music from Thessaloniki) CD and digital album

Thirty-eight minutes of slowly uncoiling silver fern recordings.

This unabashed and confident record exerts a steely glaze trained on the empty and distantly imagined absence.  The tools?  Electronics, feedback, op amps and radio are working busily – coaxing tiny, granular sounds from their private holes in fine detail.

In many ways this is a classic two-layered recording: the hiss of a cracked pot vs the faint thud and rattle of movement.  Like equal partners in an equation each voice leans in to each other, supporting and bracing a structure that organically sprouts five distinct limbs.  Like this…

  • Fidgeting static, a canvas for the meek feedback tones, drops away to allow some dub-like drops in pressure. The white throb, once a rude thumb in the ear, slips into complete silence.
  • Breath like water fired through a hose is captured in a watchmaker’s basement. Dexterous hands move with purpose, delicately balancing the tension between cog and spring, engineering the never-never of potential energy – delayed power gratification.
  • A faint voice is heard through the ionosphere’s thick blanket; sick tones are peeled off like dollars from a grubby, foul-smelling, bundle to eventually settle into one citric slice.
  • Pure harmony spirals out of the miasma – bone dry. A warm purring and some form of engraving machine start seriously flirting; finishing each other’s sentences, coquettishly playing with their hair.
  • Sucking dull solder from an antique circuit board. The collapsing death of once electric sounds.

Lovers with hot new ears.  Apply yourselves!

 

Blue Tapes / X-Ray Records

Intonema

Power Moves Library

Organised Music From Thessaloniki

-ooOOoo-

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