Tag Archives: alfred brown

[Archive 10.9.13]

The Upstate Soundscape, 10.08.13

 

1) Mary Lattimore, “Pluto The Planet” The Withdrawing Room(Desire Path Recordings)

2) Dustin Wong, “Helix Sky” Meditations of Ecstatic Energy (Thrill Jockey)

3) Steve Hauschildt, “Different Directions” S/H (Editions Mego)

4) Rambutan, “House of Shells” Live at Volcanic Tongue, March 23 2013

5) Alfred Brown, “Drawn to a Withered Hand” Library Music Catalog Music Series Vol. 16: Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty)

6) Polmo Polpo, “Farewell to the Flyer” Innature (Barge Recordings)

7) Frank Napolski, “Live at the Wash for WSADA 7” September 27 2013.

8) The Haxan Cloak, “Dieu” Excavation (Tri Angle)

9) Ay Fast, “Opera Starring You Dead” Where Does He Come?(Banana Seat Girl)

10) Oneohtrix Point Never, “Still Life” R Plus Seven (Warp)

11) Rashad Becker, “Themes IV” Traditional Music of Notional Species Vol. I (Pan)

12) Gold Panda, “Marriage (Forest Swords Remix)”

13) Hovercraft, “Anthropod” Experiment Below (Mute/Blast First)

14) MC5, “Black to Comm” ’66 Breakout  (Total Energy Records)


[The Upstate Soundscape Vol. I: Winter 2013]

‘Vol I: Winter 2013’ is the first compilation to be released by The Upstate Soundscape radio show/blog. It features experimental artists at work exclusively in Upstate NY/Southern Ontario region. The compilation features a mix of previously recorded material, including live recordings, with material that was recorded especially for the comp.

Look for the next comp to come out in the Spring. Artists interested in submitting a track in consideration for future comps should get in touch. And thank you to the artists for contributing their work to this comp.

Enjoy.

1) Alfred Brown, The Flowers Open As If to Praise Their Creator (Buffalo)
2) Damian Valles, Old Quarters (Fenelon Falls, ON)
3) SIGHUP, x87 (Toronto)
4) Claymation, Candlelight Eggs (Troy, NY)
5) Thoughts on Air, Glory Skies (Those Eyes) (Hamilton)
6) M. Mucci, Live at MSAC (Nov. 29, 2012) (Guelph)
7) Mandala Channel, Writhing (Buffalo)
8) Leah Rico, Bëacen (Albany)
9) Andris Balins, Its All Through Us (Oneonta, NY)
10) Shape Shifting Shepherds, Stratified Myriad (Jackson/ Charlton)
11) SlowPitch, People for Dolls (Toronto)
12) Chapels, Teeth (Buffalo)
13) Stone Baby, Leap Into the Void (Rochester)
Bonus Track: Needles Numark, In-Studio Soundscape Mix (Buffalo)

Released by: The Upstate Soundscape 
Release/catalogue number: UpSS01
Release date: Jan 3, 2013

[2012 in Review: Needles Numark, host of the Upstate Soundscape]

Needles is the host The Upstate Soundscape radio show. Here are 10 releases that he dug from 2012.

 

 

Sax Tape, S/T 

 

This insane 60-minute romp came from Guelph’s Bry Webb. An unbelievable collage of looped beats, sonic twirls, and honking saxes. Funky, twisted, and psychedelic, this one hit all the right notes for me.

 

 

 

Alfred Brown, Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty)

 

Probably one of the most graceful records of 2012. It could easily serve as the score for one of Terrence Malick’s majestic films.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Aluminum, We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)

 

This Buffalo trio (now a four piece) perfectly straddles the line between experimental and pop. The songs on this album are as catchy as they are whacked out.

 

 

Venn Rain, Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)

 

It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly I like about this cassette, but I just found it totally compelling. Four very simple recordings, all of which are mesmerizing.

 

 

M. Mucci, Days Blur Together

 

60 minutes of true drone bliss from Guelph-based M. Mucci. One of the most patient and refined pieces I have ever heard. Very few pieces present listeners with this type of challenge and subsequent reward for committing to it. Basinski-esque.

 

 

Phillips-Borden, System Vandross

 

A really discombobulating listen. Following the intersection of Borden’s crazed cello and Phillips’s turntable manipulation is like trying to walk on shifting ground in the dark.

 

 

Tony Conrad and HangedUp, Transit of Venus (Constellation)

 

Such a simple formula. Big sloppy drums combined with thick vibrating drones. The result is what I always imagined the Theater of Eternal Music would have sounded like. Great for both sitting in a chair and zoning out to or flailing around the room and breaking shit.

 

 

Damian Valles, Non-Parallel (in Four Movements) (Experimedia)

 

I am a sucker for any sample-based drone. Valles’s re-use of classical avant-garde sounds from the Nonesuch label is a fantastic example of the possible directions sample-based sounds might go in the future (even if they don’t sound at like sample-based works).

 

 

Thoughts on Air, Random Tandem (Old Frontiers)

 

I had the pleasure of hanging out with Scott Johnson (ToA) one night in Hamilton this past summer. We traded some tapes, and this was one he gave me. The art work immediately blew me away but it wasn’t until driving home the next day hung over with the window’s down and music blasting that I actually heard this amazing double cassette. The graceful tones poured out my windows down the QEW. Then I got stuck in traffic on top of the Rainbow bridge in 90 degree heat with no air conditioning. A faint mist from the falls blew over me ever so often. I just sat there listening in a sweat induced trance. This tape will always run through my mind whenever I cross that bridge.

 

 

Loud and Sad, Fales Intimacy (cae-sur-a)

 

At times, there is so little going on in this cassette, which is what I love about it. You can really only absorb this by listening with all your might.

 


[Review: Alfred Brown, ‘The Seagull: A Song Cycle’]

It’s been a productive year for Alfred Brown, a Buffalo-based electro-acoustic composer and audio engineer. First, he contributed the excellent Music for Moving in Slow Motion to Asthmatic Kitty’s ambitious Library Catalog Music Series. Now he has put the finishing touches on a project that apparently had been hibernating inside his personal audio vault.

According to Brown, The Seagull: A Song Cycle was originally intended as a soundtrack, but then evolved into a “wordless song cycle of sorts” based around Anton Chekhov’s late-19th century play, The Seagull. And while Brown does not provide much contextual insight into the connection the play and his album share, it turns out that the lack of any artistic précis does nothing to prevent one from enjoying this  first-class instrumental production.

Masterfully composed and elegantly arranged, The Seagull will undoubtedly appeal to aficionados of the orthodox strain of ambient (Ambient with a capital ‘A,’ that is). Listener’s who revere the music of Stars of the Lid, Kyle Bobby Dunn, Nicholas Szczepanik, and of course Eno, will recognize that Brown is the real deal and he should perhaps earn consideration as a future appointment to this exclusive pantheon of neoclassical prodigies. Time will inevitably tell.

For now, it is clear that Brown’s training as an audio engineer plays an important role in his ability to construct drones that are at times faint, at other times vigorous, but always layered very carefully and teased out with long, sustained tones that glisten like elongating icicles in the sun. Ellen Fullman, and the trademark sound of her long string instrument, is a definite reference point here. In fact, it’s only a mild exaggeration to say that tracks three through eight flow as if all sound emanates from a single captivating string. That string then bends, rises, and sways under the graceful guidance of the unseen performer. The listener can either focus intently on the gentle fluctuations in rhythm and tone or absorb the cycle as a whole, which is very possible to do since the songs wisp in and out of one another in very fluid manner.

The Seagull: A Song Cycle, put out by ACrawlsPace (a sub-label for Abandoned Buildings), is the second strong release from Brown in 2012 and it will be very interesting to hear what’s in store for him in 2013.

________________________________________________________

Review by Taylor Waite


[Archive: 12.5.12]

The Upstate Soundscape, 12.5.12

1) Scott Walker, “Tar,” Bish Bosch (4AD)
2) Mercury Rev, “BLue and Black,” Yerself is Steam (Mint/Jungle) 1991
3) Tony Conrad and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, “Demilitariuzed Ozone,” Taking Issue (Dais)
4) Michael Pisaro, “New Orleans,” Tombstones (HEM)
5) Alfred Brown, “The Seagull: An Overture,” The Seagull: A Song Cycle (Abandoned Buildings)
6) Robert Phillips, “Shindo No Su,” Performed by  Talea Ensemble
7) Mike Parker, “Forward – The 5am Mix” Pulse Trader EP (Prologue)
7) Ay Fast, “For Shemmmm,” Nice Arps (Schematic)
8) James Ferraro, “SO N2U,” Sushi (Hippos in Tanks)
9) Believer/Law, “The Task at Hand,” Fox Hole Prayers/The Task at Hand (cae-sur-a)
10) Lee Gamble, “M25 Echo,” Diversions 1994-1996 (Pan)
11) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Forest of Leisure,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
12) Slowpitch, “Subtle Multipurpose,” The Upstate Soundscape Sampler, Vol. I (Wampizdat)
13) DeTrop, “Four Stages Apostasy,” Man, Woman & Beast (House of Alchemy)
14) Nite Lite, “Fire Walkers,” Megrez (Desire Path Recordings)
15) Tired Wires, “The Luthier”
16) Paper Armies, “Together”

 


[Archive 11.21.12: ft. guest host Michael Vitrano of Desire Path Recordings]

 

1) Kane Ikin, “In the Shadow of the Vanishing Night” Sublunar (12k) 15
2) Loud & Sad, “Track 5” Unknown Species (GreenUp Industries)
3) Akira Rabelais, “Gymnopedie 3” Eisotrophobia (Returnal)
4) Charlemagne Palestine, “Part 2,” Four Manifestations on Six Elements (Sonabend Gallery)
5) Ben Bennett, “I’ll Call You When I Get Creamed by a Motorist,” Spoilage (Experimedia)
6)) Andrea Belfi, “D,” Wedge (Room 40)
7) Prayer, “Night Vigil,” Sequence 5 (Future Sequence)
8) Nite Lite, “Mythopoeic Imagination,” Megretz (Desire Path Recordings)
9) Grasshopper, “Side A,” The Day America Forgot (SicSic Tapes)
10) Jon Mueller, “Impatience,” Death Blues (Home Tapes)
11) Nathan McLaughlin, “Unknown,” The Refrigerator is Emotional (Senufo)
12) High Aura’d, “Sleep Like the Dead,” Sanguine Futures (Bathetic)
13) Rust Worship, “Side A,” Terrestrial Society (House of Alchemy)
14) Kyle Bobby Dunn, “In Praise of Tears,” In Miserum Stercus (Komino)
15) Virginia Astley, “From Gardens Where We Feel Secure,” From Gardens Where We Feel Secure (Rough Trade)
16) Leafcutter John, “A Slowly Growing Beautiful,” Tunis (Tsukoboshi)
18) Alfred Brown, “Drawn To a Withered Hand,” Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty)

[Preview 11.7.12: Alfred Brown, Megrez, Cave and more]

Nite Lite – Megrez (Desire Path Recordings)

Lots of new stuff to get to tonight on The Upstate Soundscape, including a song from the upcoming album The Seagull – A Song Cycle by Buffalo artists Alfred Brown and a track from Nite Lite’s Megrez, which is due out soon on Buffalo label Desire Path Recordings.

New stuff as well from Buffalo’s Ay Fast, the cae-sur-a label out of Rochester, and a collaboration between Ithaca sax player Keir Neuringer and Toronto vocalist Paul Dutton.

We’ll also preview a couple of interesting shows going on in the region, including Rochester-born Lydia Lunch in Hamilton, nu-kraut band Cave in Buffalo, and Steven Severin’s live film score to Blood of the Poet  scheduled for this Sunday at the Market Arcade.

Show starts at 8pm. Tune in to 91.3FM WBNY or stream at WBNY.org


[Review: Alfred Brown, ‘Music for Moving in Slow Motion’]

It’s frustrating to wake in a world of static and desire, an easy path to silence. Silence, after all, has become antiquated in the new millennium — things that go beep in the night often plague us discreetly, becoming invisible wounds that fester and refuse to scab. Pop music runs rampant with thunderous bass boom and lyrical prattle. An entire generation breathes through a credo of “What good is it if ya can’t dance to it?”

Still, there is hope. The Asthmatic Kitty record label has put together the Library Catalog Music Series, a collection of variegated works composed by a score of talented creators, for the purpose of merely existing. The label invites you to utilize the swirling soundscapes of these records while you eat, exercise, make art, or simply carry out your day-to-day routines. Seriously. It’s just creative individuals crafting radiant, challenging art because it’s the right thing to do.

One particularly moving entry lends itself beautifully to the art of slowing down. Music for Moving in Slow Motion, an assortment of slow-churned atmospheric pieces, was created by Buffalo-based composer and audio engineer Alfred Brown, an artist whose dedication to patience will reward yours from the moment you commit to indulging in his compositions. Music for Moving in Slow Motion blends ambient minimalism with brazenly boisterous celebration sounds by way of unhurried plans. Each piece is a bag of colorful strings dumped out at half-speed over a box fan — the tails flagging at molasses pace, scurrying in constant sludge.

Take “Inchoate,” the collection’s gorgeously unfurling centerpiece. Etymologically, the word invokes a new being gradually growing into its still-undefined self. Musically, Alfred Brown’s sonata begins ill at ease with its purpose, with rattling noise smoothing out into unabashed pomp and quiet roar, until it steadies upon its new legs and proclaims its post-post rock grandeur. The video below shows how Brown constructed the distinctive guitar sound at the center of the composition. The song is a 14-minute embryonic metamorphosis of dripping splendor and uncalculated beauty, culminating in a brilliant slip out the back door.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqQJyJ7rBqI&feature=player_embedded%5D

You won’t hear “Inchoate” on the radio (except on The Upstate Soundscape, of course), but you wouldn’t want to anyway. You’d want to hear this — need to hear this — at a proper time. (At home in your bathtub as you carefully trace circles on a frosty wine glass, while capriciously summiting a great mountain of suds, etc.)

Of course, Music for Moving in Slow Motion need not be entirely self-indulgent. The playful three-part suite of “Voice of Animals and Men” dips into Owen Pallett-approved giddy violin glee, snowy bell-chirping and peppy clock-chiming, showing off Brown’s knack for chamber-ready whimsy. “The Littlest Waves (a soundtrack for drowning)” induces discomfort, settling like a bad shot of bourbon, churning around unpleasantly in the ether of the unknown. The brass croon of “A Burning Too Hot to Endure” sounds like a Neutral Milk Hotel concert underwater.

The parallels serve only as reference points. Alfred Brown has fashioned an organic aural experience, one perhaps best summed up by the title of the album’s third-last piece: “A Tussle That Will End in Bearhugs.” You’ll brave the cloudy weather of the album’s mysteries, weathering your own resistance, because of an impulse to feel moved. In the end, you’ll come away embracing all the foggy inscrutability that made it memorable.

Music for Moving in Slow Motion is proof that on certain half-moonlit nights, the best option is the one that requires patience. When silence is unattainable, this 14-song set of moody mini-symphonies will supply the next best thing — a dappled color palette with which to paint your own emotions.

_______________________________________________________

Review by Patrick Hosken


[Archive: 08.08.12]

1) Deep Listening Band, “Jungle Howl,” Needle Drop Jungle (Taiga Records)
2) Alfred Brown, “Drawn to a Withered Hand,” Library Catalog Music Series Vol. 16: Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty)
3) Damian Valles, “Movement IV,” Non-Paralleled (In Four Movements) (Experimedia)
4) Alex Durlak, Seconds (Komino Records)
5) Thought on Air, “Commuter Special,” Random Tandem (Old Frontiers)
6) Hobo Cubes, “Side A,” Involuntary Hiatus (Old Frontiers)
7) Ouresboros, “Dissolving in Light,” Dreaming in Earth, Dissolving in Light (Ant-Zen)
8) No Shoes and One Sock, This is Our Raga (Terapin Tapes)


[Free Music Friday: Serifs, ‘S/T’]

From the Bandcamp site: Serifs is Alfred Brown of Buffalo, NY and John Valenti of Rochester, NY.  It is a shared vision of instrumental experimentation based loosely around improvisatory accidents, childhood ennui, and Christmas.  This EP is a collection of unassuming song collages that play with timbre and form in a musical conversation between friends. 

In college, Valenti and Brown met while studying the writings of Immanuel Kant and soon realized common musical interests.  After spending a brief time as founding members of the band /  interactive performance troupe The Birthday Party, each would go on to pursue his own individual musical path, still ever leaping at the chance to pool their gifts once again. The first concrete result is this self-titled EP.