Tag Archives: alfred brown

[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.


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.

[Archive 07.11.12.]


1) JD Emmanuel, “Evening Devotional,” Trance: Formation 1: Ancient Minimal Meditations (Aguirre) (:01)
2) Rambutan, “Vapor Columns,” Typhoon Shapes (cae-sur-a) (:10)
3) Actress, “N.E.W.,” R.I.P. (Honest Jon’s) (:14)
4) Zelienople, “The Southern,” The World is a House of Fire (Type) (:16)
5) Alfred Brown, “You Are Not Henry Putnam,” Library Catalog Music Series, Vol. 16: Music for Moving in Slow Motion (Asthmatic Kitty) (:27)
6) Can, “Messer, Scissors, Fork and Light,” The Lost Tapes (Mute) (: 31)
7) Landerim, “The Black Swarm,” Shallow Draw (Magnetic Eye) (:39)
8) Phillips-Borden, “Matchstick Arbitrage,” SystemVandross (:44)
9) O+YN+GMC, “Cumbia Mesonica,” Blood Dirt Compilation VOl. 2 (Blood Dirt/Owl Records) (:47)
10) Tomutonttu, “Side A” HYLYT (Dekorder) (01:03)
11) Sheldon Siegel, “Side A,” Midden (House of Alchemy) (01:11)
12) Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble ft. Dennis DeSantis, “In C” Live at Le Poisson Rouge (01:37)

[Preview 07.11.12: Boat Loads of New Stuff]

That’s right, we got BOAT loads of new stuff to get to tonight. Here’s just a taste of what to expect: Actress, Zelienople, Animal Collective, and Tomutonttu, along with reissues from Can and JD Emmaunel. . .

 . . . plus great new stuff from Albany’s Rambutan off of Rochester’s cae-sur-a label, a track from System Vandross, the  new album from Buffalo cello-turntable duo Phillips-Borden, a selection from Music for Moving in Slow Motion by Buffalo’s Alfred Brown, and more.

We’ll also preview the performance of Terry Riley’s In C set to take place this Friday at the Burchfield-Penny Art Center. That’s a free show that will take place outside accompanied by specially commissioned video works. See link for more details.

The weirdness will begin hitting your airwaves at 9pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.

[Archive 01.04.11]

1) SlowPitch, “No Turning Back,” REPLCMNT
2) ProEf, “Fading DeLights,” All Eye Know
3) Beta Cloud, “Crystaline,” Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 (Bad Drone Media)
4) VWLS, “Maurauder Water,” Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 (Bad Drone Media)
5) Alfred Brown, “I’m Not a Fox for Nothing,” Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 (Bad Drone Media)
6) Mutus Liber, “Hesitation Resources,” Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 (Bad Drone Media)
7) Grasshopper, “I Sang a Sad Song Today,” Miles in the Sky (House of Alchemy)
8) Parashi, “Car char odonto saurus,” Parashi/Granitkorridor Split (Stunned Records)
9) Benoît Honoré Pioulard, “A Land Which Has No End,” Plays Thelma (Desire Path Recordings)
10) Claymation, “Solidarity,” The Dolphin Key (Magnetic Eye Records)
11) Richard Lainhart, “Live @ Alfa Art Gallery 4.9.11”

[2011 in Review: Bad Drone Media, ‘Glossy Eyes, Vol.1’]

Ranging from drone, to noise, to improv, this compilation from Buffalo’s Bad Drone Media is perhaps the clearest testament to the breadth of experimentation occurring within the Queen City. The compilation is not strictly a Buffalo affair, however, and does include tracks from friends within BDM’s noise network, including Pregnant Spore from Baltimore, Death Beef from Athens, Ohio, and Hostage Pageant from Virginia.

Without the existence of a single weak spot, Glossy Eyes Vol. 1 presents 13 articulate tracks that draw from distinct sonic wells. Mutus Liber‘s “Hesitation Resources” and Alfred Brown‘s “I’m Not a Fox for Nothing” both employ the workings of drone and ambient, while Pacing’s “Battle Damage,” GOD DAMN DEVIL EYES‘s “The Lady Next Door,”  and The Voidologists‘s “I Remember the Summer” all present different takes on harsh noise. Then VWLS meets the two sides in the middle with “Marauding Summer,” a screeching sci-fi trip down an eerie analog avenue.

Other standouts include Chapels’s “Stumbling,” a chattering lofi excursion, and Abramson Trump’s “Live at the Vault 1-30-11,” a masterful duet between two of Buffalo’s best musicians, drummer Jim Abramson and guitarist T. Andrew Trump. Both these tracks lend the compilation a stylistic depth by exploring territories outside of noise.

With several of these artists performing together on a regular basis at venues like Sugar City and the Jungle Gym it is hopeful that there will be a Glossy Eyes, Vol. 2 forthcoming from the Bad Drone Media label in the near future.


Review by Cameron Alexander