Tag Archives: skell

[Review: Cruudeuces, ‘Various Skin Figurines’]

Clarinets can be one of the evilest sounding instruments, emitting warped sounds, squeaks, and squawks of a tortured variety. Cruudeuces, the project of Ghetto Naturalist Series label owner Nathaniel Brennan, capitalizes on these coerced sounds from the clarinet on his newest release Various Skin Figurines. Brought to us by Albany-based label Skell Records LLC–run by Mike Griffin, who also makes his own rather tortured sounds under the Parashi moniker—Various Skin Figurines is unconventional music with an organic edge, making it highly introspective on the human condition in ways one does not always encounter with noise.

Starting with the B side, “Every Dot That Passes” is an exhibition of the gut wrenchingly visceral sounds that Brennan is able to call forth from his clarinet. The track has the feel of a methodically slow ritual sacrifice where something–or someone–is dismembered while you are forced to watch. Brennan creates an atmosphere that hangs ominously overhead like an oppressive crimson sky, with drums sounding in the distance only to impress upon you the passing of each grating moment but never helping to speed up the process.


Brennan’s clarinet wails for a hair-raising fifteen minutes with uncanny voicing that sits uncomfortably in the mind of the listener, coming too close to sounding like something living for it to be easily ignored. Those relentless piercing cries put the listener on edge for the entire duration of the track without ever letting up, even for a moment. By the end the listener is left to beg for some sort of climax to relieve the insurmountable tension that has built up over the course of the track, a vain plea that is left unfulfilled as a climax never arrives.

While the B side is a study on the inward depths of one’s self, one’s limits as a human being, the A side, “Philadelphia Thieves,” takes things in the opposite direction outward into space, allowing the listener more room to contemplate their existence. The clarinet is not featured so prominently in this track (if it is used at all it is treated beyond recognition) with Brennan looking to electronics instead. With them he creates a distinct sense of place that is worlds away from the other side of the cassette. Brennan uses electronics to build an alien static that drifts by as the listener floats through the vast expanses of empty space while an enormous churning low end spills out from massive cosmic objects filling the mind with a sense of dread.

Listening to the track is like coming face to face with the electromagnetic Galaxy Being from The Outer Limits. The electromagnetic radiation emitted by the extraterrestrial squiggling and hissing throughout the track fills you with a sense of fascination from meeting a creature from an unknown world. The bass serves as a ever present reminder that you are very small in a infinitely large universe filled with things that you will never understand or control; a troubling idea to many.

Complex and at many times through provoking, Various Skin Figurines is a fascinating listen for the ideas it conveys and the places it creates. It is a great release for Cruudeuces to start the year off with.


Review by Andrew White

[Archive 02.01.12]

1) Cruudeuces, “Philadelphia Thieves,” Various Skin Figurines (Skell LLC)
2) The Cat’s Orchestra, “Tail Tale,” Giant Claw/The Cat’s Orchestra Split (cae-sur-a)
3) Baczkowski/Sack Duo, “Keet Seel,” Split Cassette (House of Alchemy)
4) Zs, “Acres of Skin,” New Slaves (Social Registry)
5) Keir Neuringer and DJ Sniff, Live at the Night of Unexpected (Amsterdam 2007)
6) Colin Fisher, “Side 2,” Elfin Choirs 
7) Bear Flames, “Ifs”
9) All of Them Withces, “Believe Me Ma’am, You Are Not the First Non-Responsive,” Breathers vs. Drivers
10) Velvet Elvis, “Part 1,” No Rules in The Wasteland (cae-sur-a)
11) Pauline Oliveros, Primordial Lift (Deep Listening Publications)

[Preview 02.01.12: Vault Show, New Skell/HOA/caesura and more]

Got a whole bunch of good stuff lined up for tonight, including new tracks fresh in from the House of Alchemy, cae-sur-a, and Skell labels.

Keir Neuringer w/ DJ Sniff

Good show going down at the Vault tomorrow, so we’ll hear some of the artists that will be performing, including Ithaca’s Keir Neuringer, Toronto’s Colin Fisher, and the Steve Baczkowski/Bill Sack Duo from Buffalo.

Pauline Oliveros

Also, I recently took a trip to the UB music library so we got some archival goodies to get to as well, including some Tony Conrad, Pauline Oliveros, and others.

Windy & Carl

If we got time we’ll hear some other new stuff from old school droners Windy & Carl as well. Show starts at 10pm on 91.3 FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.

[Archive 01.25.12]

1) Parashi vs. Fossils from the Sun, “Dark Matter” Parashi vs. Fossils from the Sun/Xanthocephalus Split (Skell)
2) Nonhorse R&D, “10-Inch Eye,” Rebuild the Silent Barn 
3) Rambutan, “Meridian Hill”
4) Continents, “Nothing Under Sand,” Continents (Lo-Fi Kabuki)
5) Century Plants, “Regaining Consciousness”
6) Ay Fast, “Floor Guide,” Crimson Knight EP (Schematic)
7) Com Truise, “Slow Peels,” Cyanide Sisters EP (Ghostly International)
8) Jerk, “Noon,” Death Testament (Factotum Tapes)
9) Crispin Helion Glover, “Selected Readings from Oak Mot Part 3,” THe Big Problem?The Solution. The Solution=Let It Be 
10) Performance of John Zorn’s Cobra at Brown University November 20, 2010
11) Leather Tongue, “Season of the Nerves”
12) Chris Borkowski, “Prussian Blue,” Out of Nowhere: Electro-Acoustic Music from the Upstate Fringe 
13) Scott Valkwitch, “Echo I (Bell Ambiance)”
14) Jacob Gotlib, “Year Without Summer (Daumenkino)”


[2011 in Review: Parashi/Granitkorridor, ‘Celadon/VI c80’]

Parashi/Granitkorridor, Celadon/VI c80 (Stunned Records no. 131)

Stunned Records announced earlier this year that it was discontinuing its practice of releasing otherworldly tapes and CD-Rs that greatly appealed to the musically maligned. There would be one last batch, however. And within that last batch was a tape, and on that tape there was the A-side that featured Upstate artist Parashi.

Hailing from Clifton Park, NY (in the Albany region) Parashi–who also runs the Skell label–has released under Stunned before with Troika (Stunned no. 115). The folks at Stunned warned upon Celadon‘s release, however, that Parashi was “not treading the same ground” with this new cassette.

Celadon crackles like a severed wire, still live but sometimes merely gurgling along as if the electric juice could run out at anytime. Incessant feedback-like sounds are channeled, chopped, and then clobbered into a form of its makers choosing.  Parashi’s electronic tools, tuned to frequencies in the lo-fi dimension, spurt to life at unpredictable moments then wail about until they are mercifully silenced by their creator’s invisible hand. The reprieve which allows your ears to breathe never lasts long though.

These recordings are disquieting in the way that the paths of least sonic resistance are rarely, if ever, taken. Instead, Parashi patiently hovers, sometimes squirms, awaiting the moment to come to him, like a hunter awaiting prey to stumble into a trap. Then, just at the right moment, Parashi pulls the trigger and unleashes a sonic shit storm that will make you wonder if your headphones are broken.

With Celadonwhich is a ceramics reference–Parashi helps to send one of the most revered micro-labels of the past few years out on an appropriate note.


Review by Cameron Alexander