Tag Archives: old frontiers

[Archive 03.06.13]

The Upstate Soundscape, 03.07.13

 

 

1) Leah Rico, “Beacen” The Upstate Soundscape Vol. I: Winter 2013
2) Babi Audi, “Live on CKUT’s New Shit, 1/21/13” (Free Music Archive)
3) Matmos, “In Search of a Lost Faculty” The Marriage of True Minds (Thrill Jockey)
4) Paul Hubweber & DJ Sniff, “Um Chaka Tum” No Litter (Gligg Records)
5) Black to Comm, “Forst” Alphabet 1968 (Type)
6) Invasion Vs Shackleton, “Wizards in Dub Part I” Wizards in Dub
7) Lord Tang, “Thang” Lord Tang (Gigante)
8) Boom Bip, “Closed Shoulders (Clouddead Remix)” From Left to Right 12″ Single (Warp)
9) Mark Kloud, “Would Be” Environmental Changes
10) Kristachuwan, “I Am Your Density” Twin Swiss
11) Ay Fast, “Elastic Beaches” Where Does He Come?
12) Mary Lattimore, “You’ll Be Fiiinnne” The Withdrawing Room (Desire Path Recordings)
13) John St. Denis, “I Found A Letter Underwater, The Print Was Illegible” John St. Denis/ Misner Space Split Cassette (Old Frontiers)
14) Julia Holter, “This is Ekstatis” Eckstasis (RVNG, Intl)
15) Eschaton, “I Don’t Get Bed Bugs”


[Preview 3.6.13: New Desire Path, Old Frontiers + more]

John St. Denis/Misner Space split cassette (Old Frontiers)

Tonight on The Upstate Soundscape we’ll hear new recordings from Hamilton’s Old Frontiers label and Buffalo’s Desire Path label.

Mary Lattimore, ‘The Withdrawing Room’ (Desire Path Recordings)

 

Also have some new stuff from Kristachuwan and Mark Kloud, two electronic producers out of Buffalo.

If there is time, we’ll also check out new sounds from Black to Comm, Autecher, and Benoit Pioulard.

Show starts at 8pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.


[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: Reedbeds, ‘Heirloom Rust Garden’]

https://i2.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/-GpQ4cekfIKA/UB8gFtwQ3jI/AAAAAAAAAFA/vrbO2Yli2dU/s320/Reedbeds-Blog-Photo.jpg

Hamilton, Ontario label Old Frontiers is a unique entity in the music game. While you can locate some CDs and art on their website, they almost exclusively deal in (incredibly fascinating) cassettes. Every entry is a story – a mystical puzzle box – waiting to be unfolded by the right person, the next more enticing than the last. Take for instance, Reedbed’s Heirloom Rust Garden. This soothing album is a worthy addition to any eclectic music collection, offering two sides of pure instrumental joy.

Both sides are very similar, which isn’t to say you’ll confuse the two. Rather, listening to the cassette compares to visiting a gallery; each side is its own floor with a carefully curated exhibit. The cassette fades in and out between songs, continuing this analogy; the mental symphony conducts as you consider a piece of artwork, and then dissipates as you travel to the next texture that begins the cycle again.

It is a few minutes before the first impressions of crackling static fully builds into a “song,” but this is well-executed. It begins with a melody that arises from the plucking of a very pleasant ukulele-like instrument. The production utilizes a great deal of looping, strategically composed to fluctuate just as you get comfortable. In fact, that statement is a great way to describe the cassette as a whole; it’s repetitious and familiar enough to create a song, without being predictable and uninteresting. And just as soon as it seems to have faded in, we’re onto the next exhibit.

This is a good example of how each song plays out. It’s unimportant to do a track-by-track analysis of each side, because they’re all variations on the same theme. Again, I really don’t want to give the impression it all sounds similar or follows any formula. It is just hard to describe each bit without the descriptions running into each other. This is by design, as the cassette excels in creating expectations only to defy them moments later. It makes for an incredibly satisfying experience of comfortably walking the line between conventional and experimental.

As far as what you can expect to hear, there is a substantial amount of looping and backmasked instrumentation, limited to mostly a few stringed and electronic instruments. The sounds are very calming and tranquil. The different instruments playing together are absolutely entrancing and I found it very hard to keep my concentration during every listen, whether it was my focus or it was only playing in the background. It just makes your mind flow and jumpstarts whatever part of your imagination causes you to spontaneously daydream. I really enjoyed that aspect of the work.

This is present through most of the work, but it was on the first listen (about halfway into Side B) that I first noticed the two guitars playing entirely different compositions over complementary electronics and the single harmony it created, without harmonizing. The dual guitars (or any instruments they’re using at the time) blend without dueling, combining to be one. Whenever that’s done properly, and this cassette is a prime example, it is simply beautiful. That alone is worth the price of admission. Highly recommend as with anything released by Old Frontiers. Great for anyone who likes calming music that will take their imaginations for a chariot ride across the stars.

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Review by Roth’s Child


[Review: Thoughts on Air, ‘Random Tandem’]

Random Tandem, the double cassette from Hamilton, Ontario’s Thoughts on Air, begins with the two-chord, whispering moan of “Commuter Special,” is momentarily suspended in the expansive guitar drone of “Double Helix” (think a less arpeggiated version of Neil Young’s guitar work from the Dead Man soundtrack), and washes out near the end with the additive minimalism of “Waver” and “Woven.”

Nevertheless, ToA’s Scott Johnson doesn’t eschew the more ragged edges of experimentation. “Screaming U at Mimi,” the meditation of a post-blues lothario, mixes a rocking chair riff with warbling vocals and screeching guitars (the last mercifully low in the mix): “Ooh baby, the mystery / is in my mind / but my heart is warm / all the time.” The sentiment of the lines pervades much of the album—even where there is no lyrical content to spell it out.

“Hop (with Scotch)” is an especially captivating track: distorted drums, peeling vocals/guitar, and a kinda raga vibe raise it above the rest of the album. Soon enough, the dissonant picking and slurred vocals of “Fiddle Crap (with Bacon Grooves)” brings the album back into the realm of exhausted self. The latter track sounds like it could be a missing cut from Steropathetic Soul Manure, Beck’s early 90s ode to his own frustration with the musical arts.

Johnson is best when blending the two impulses—the emotional fullness experienced in musical flight and the imminent return to the incomplete self—as he does on “Mutuality.” There’s a sort of alternation between the two states over the course of this double cassette, as though the trippy voyage must always be reconciled with the earthbound body and its not-so trippy cares. “Mutuality,” with its repetitive first guitar and second guitar alternating in the bass and treble ranges, simultaneously keeps the listener on the hook and eager to take off.

The final track, “Hymn for She,” has a truly rad two-guitar, two-vocal harmony and deploys that old oceanic trick of building, cresting, and washing away. Woulda been fine by me if it were a few minutes longer.  In any case, the entire set is thoroughly recommended.

Random Tandem was released by the Old Frontiers label, also out of Hamilton, and the double cassette included an absolutely astounding packaging that is made of an old converted audio tape case from the Hamilton Public Library (the disclaimer is still inside). The cover art and the 12-page booklet are both top notch and were put together by Johnson and Old Frontiers mate Sean Gadoury using a color photocopier and, according to their website, “a technique of blending images by feeding the paper back through the machine: a unique process with fortuitous results.”

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Review by Shane Meyer


[Preview 09.26.12: VWLS, Annie Shaw, Mensheviks and more]

Annie Shaw – Shanty Awe (Old Frontiers)

Tonight on The Upstate Soundscape we’ll hear new sounds from Buffalo drone project VWLS (Bad Drone Media), Albany-based collaborative project Mensheviks (Tape Drift), and a ghostly cassette from Hamilton’s Annie Shaw (Old Frontiers).

VWLS – Broadcast in the Moss (Bad Drone Media)

Lots of other good sounds coming your way tonight, including Jealousy Mountain Duo, Swans, Efterklang, Tim Hecker, Lucky Dragons and Mike Shiflet.

Show starts at 8pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.

 


[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)