BABY JESUS “S/T” (Ongakubaka Records)




Let’s address the elephant in the room…

Ongakubaka [Own-gah-koo-bah-kah]

1.noun Japanese origin, music fool/idiot.

2.noun Richmond, VA, USA origin, garage/psyche record label.

Baby Jesus has a dream every night. It’s the one at a party. Adam West, Burt Ward, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, and Julie Newmar are all in attendance. Don’t forget Sun Ra blasting on the keys as tangerine joker-smoke rises from the ginger-ale and sherbet punchbowl.

The Nuggets, the Pebbles, the Granules (?) are filtered through silvery sieves stacked gingerly like canisters of bygone celluloid in Metro Goldwyn (Russ)Meyer’s utility closet.

The days are dark because it’s eternally night. Indeed the freaks do come out at night, folks. Take a deep dive Back from the Grave.

But seriously, Sexy Sadie, these Swedes had their own transcendental awakening on a tour of India. On return they merged to form Baby Jesus, an unlikely spiritual direction, spiritual all the same.

Song of note: “Haven’t seen the light” a Velveteen tribute in that BJ count their blessings, spared the white light, white heat.

What has become of these Fuzztoned fellows you ask?

A. The singer/Farfisa player’s skullcap was sawed open, now magic mushrooms grow from his brain.

B. The drummer? Turned into a snail. His eyes pop out as antennae.

C. The guitarist and bassist joined a nudist colony and recline on silly putty blobs.

Recommended for listeners of wfmu.org’s Fool’s Paradise, Teenage Wasteland, Three Chord Monty, and Music to Spazz By.

[bae-bee-gee-sus]


--Adam Padavano

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SITKA “Tape Cuts” C20 (Taping Policies)


Belgium's esoteric, non-profit “Taping Policies” has collaborated with Disintegration Loops-disciple, Sitka, to bring us a withered 20 minute document of what it might have sounded like if William Basinski had opted to string a series of drone-guitar vignettes together, instead of piano passages. The exact same decay-as-centerpiece worship is at the fore throughout, with the only other accompaniment (besides said self-eating guitar swells & chordal crumblings) being a few coastal field recordings towards the end of side B, equally obliterating, in real time (of the recording).


For fans of drone-glitch, this’ll scratch all the itches, but with an added element of quasi-shock, as the abrupt transitions* between these Tape Cuts will feel relatively jarring.


https://www.tapingpolicies.com/tape-cuts

and/or

https://sitkaspruce.bandcamp.com/


—Jacob An Kittenplan


*aka N/A

RYOKO AKAMA / ANNE F - JACQUES “Evaporation” C45 (Notice Recordings)


“Evaporation" is two 20+ min live collaborations between Ryoko Akama and Anne F-Jacques, two merciless, nuance-worshipping, psycho/electro-acousticians/sonic-sadists that probably hold your cilia and mental well being in possibly maybe likely less than the highest regard. 


Through their homemade, contact mic’d devices*, RA/AFJ explore** the merits of inducing temporary tinnitus-led panic attacks and bump-in-the-night scurryings and carvings with such a mix of patience and furious battering that it’s very much not recommended to listen to this within 4 hours of (attempting of) going to sleep, as the nervous system is gonna be rendered S-H-O-T by the end of track 1’s trebly terrorizings. 


Luckily, side B is (relatively) lower in pitch, attack, beatings-per-minute, & shrill feedback… but, in its place is buried a labored breath rendered by lungless reverberations that is just as deceptively discomfiting as anything else you've ever never wanted to hear coming from a closet in the middle of the night.


In short, this’d make for one HELLUVA Halloween*** soundtrack, despite having not having “Horror" anywhere on the agenda.


https://noticerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/evaporation

and/or

https://ryokoakama.com/

https://anne-fff.tumblr.com/


—Jacob An Kittenplan


*some appearing to have voltage added for extra oomph/brutality. Check the enclosed snapshots of a few of them to get an idear!

**with much chemistry

***or April Fool’s joke/revenge

XUAN YE / CHIK WHITE “Breath Fractals” C27 (Notice Recordings)


The barebones intimacy that must have been involved in capturing the acoustically wrought elements of this collaboration between Xuan Ye and Chik White is only NOT viscerally palpable due to how close it sounds to goth/blackmetal vocalists, isolated, laying down the tracks of their final death throes, in a semi-anechoic chamber, that strikingly alien feel of sharp echoes (post-recording) adding another gripping hook to the table! Now, add to this mix a hefty serving of aggressive JAW HARP riffage and texture, and it’s become obvious that “Breath Fractals” is somewhere between concerted/enthralling breakdown and an other-wordly series of incantations.


Delightfully freakish, listen to on headphones FAR the fuck away from any other stimuli and/or obligation: This’ll take a while to come back down from.


https://noticerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/breath-fractals

and/or

https://apureapparatus.bandcamp.com/

https://chikwhite.bandcamp.com/


—Jacob An Kittenplan

SIR BOBBY JUKEBOX “Friendship Gift” (Already Dead)


Somebody once called Sir Bobby Jukebox “the mad scientist of indie pop,” and, with the exception of Sir Benjamin Gibbard, I’m inclined to agree. Given that we’re talking about royalty here (that’s what you are when you’re knighted, right?), we have to tread carefully with our formalism. You don’t want to tick off the people whose land you can’t hunt on (if I recall my European history correctly).

Just kidding about the knighting stuff, but Sir Bobby is an actual knight, having gone into battle with various troupes (No Monster Club, Ginnels, Paddy Hanna and Grand Pocket Orchestra) and slaying the dragons and marauding invaders of boredom and ennui. Wielding catchy songs like a magical sword plucked from a lake, Sir Bobby mows down everything and anything that comes at him with swift and true strokes – as long as whatever it is is worthy of a caustic barb or two.

Sir Bobby ranges through a kaleidoscopic pop countryside trod by such fun-loving luminaries as Larry Wish and Attic Ted and, dare I say, David Byrne, jigging and jagging along melodies and shuffling under psychedelic moods. Are the tracks whimsical? Almost always. Are they delightfully cheeky? You bet. There’s not much to turn up your nose at, even if you’re some kind of stuck-up royal knight or something. Oh wait, the knighthood! Eeesh … (does the Johnny Carson collar tug). Let’s just say, they only thing we’re going to get around to dubbing anytime soon is this tape.

… And by “we” and “dubbing,” I mean Already Dead and their official duplication team. I’m not making bootlegs, honest!



--Ryan

FUTURESLUM “Pretty Flowers in the Garden” C28 (Already Dead)


Pretty Flowers in the Garden my ASS!

Let me back up a second.

What comes to mind when you think of “pretty flowers in the garden”? Bucolic scenes of freshness and life, right? Color and sunlight, cultivated beauty? Yeah, me too – I think about that and I’m shot full of whatever the relaxation equivalent of endorphins is. Nothing like sitting out on the porch in the shade of a late spring afternoon, listening to the bees buzz and watching the clouds drift.

But that’s not what I’m getting here with Pretty Flowers in the Garden by Futureslum.

Maybe I should have seen it coming – something called “Futureslum” almost certainly wouldn’t have a sunny disposition if you think about it. Probably leans more toward the urban decay end of the spectrum (and “urban decay” is an almost exact synonym in this case). OK, I definitely should have seen it coming. Futureslum plays the beat tape thing into the ground, like literally crushing the genre with all Futureslum’s weight until the whole thing sounds like it was discovered by a forensics team sifting through the wreckage of a blown-up bank vault. Insert “CSI” joke here (I can’t think of a good one).

Even the beats get sandblasted away after a while, and the tone is just thick and strewn with rubble. The two sides track the pace of weathering and neglect, until all we’re left with is a stretch of cracked asphalt studded with new shoots growing out of it. This is going to keep going folks – it’ll keep happening until the plants have reclaimed the city. And then there’ll be pretty flowers in a brand new garden.


--Ryan

BENJAMIN HINZ “Deep” C22 (Philip K. Discs)


Benjamin Hinz has put out a wealth of experimental/electronic/psych stuff over the years, and, ever the explorer here, he’s churned out a solo scaffold, “DEEP”, which rides an unending mid-90s midwestern hXc pre-breakdown that’s bookended with Venusian*, clean/reverb electric guitar patience and fairly lovely feedback & blowouts.


It’s a short jaunt into rockin’ out territory, and you’ll probably find yourself filling in some spaces on your own by hollering** as personally seen fit.


https://philipkdiscs.bandcamp.com/album/deep

and/or

https://benjaminhinz.bandcamp.com/


—Jacob An Kittenplan


*aka, that space between Earth & Sunn o)))

**Small Brown Bike-style

GERMAN ARMY “Blending Landscapes” C50 (Soil)


I don’t think I’ve made it clear enough over time – German Army is here for us. Maybe now more than ever.

Because, you know – the pandemic. The racial injustice. The government. German Army is as fed up as we are. They always have been. Always will be.

So their release schedule is, shall we say, robust. And here is another in a long line, Blending Landscapes, which, if I’d have to venture a guess, was made with an ear toward interaction, inclusion, forgiveness. But not without a healthy dose of introspection and reconciliation. No Blending Landscapes without either of those.

That brings us to the “blending” itself – GeAr’s electro-smears are out in full force on Blending Landscapes, featuring darkwave pulsers, electro bangers, enveloping clouds of trance, and organic vaporwave, all feeding off each other, all bleeding through track limit distinctions in an inky river of curdled code. Or maybe it’s the black blood of our diseased culture. Either way, it’s gross, thick, liquid, and moving.

GeAr excels at finding the common denominator between people and cultures and highlighting and ridiculing the perceived differences, rendering them laughably ridiculous. Here they do us one better by peeling back the skin of our faces and revealing the bone-white skulls underneath. The common denominator is anatomy! We all have skulls.

And after all that, after all the written investigation, in the end it’s only proper to grab the nearest tape deck and zone out for a decently long time to this, letting Blending Landscapes infiltrate the pleasure centers of your brain. Also the thinking centers, and the empathy centers, and the disillusionment centers, and the dissatisfaction centers … you get the picture.



--Ryan

SWANSHIT “Remnant” C40 (Self-Released)


You like Harsh Noise and Grindcore? Well, tough shit. This ain’t it.


Per bandcamp: 

"Christopher ONeal is a failed drone musician. Screaming into the void since the mid 2000s”


…and likely the only thing keeping his rich ambient guitar arrangements and blown out white noise de(con)structions from achieving the greatest acclaim is that pesky PMRC boycotting him solely based on his potty-mouf’d nom-de-guerre. Perhaps CO simply does not want the responsibility that comes with popularity? Artists are so weird, right?


Anywhooo, “Remnant" is four long-form drone improvisations, two per side, each side with one sensitive, tonally ruminative venture…and one nervous, atonal slow-motion trainwreck of noisy carnage…but, like, in a removed, clinical fashion. It’s pretty goddamn great. Don’t let your Puritanical (non)sensibilities dissuade you from enjoying some well-detailed noise-augmented drone!


https://swanshit.bandcamp.com/album/remnant


—Jacob An Kittenplan

SWANSHIT “Remnant” C40 (self-released)


According to Swanshit’s Bandcamp page, the artist aka Christopher O’Neal hasn’t surfaced with any new music since 2008. Now whether or not that’s actually true is a matter of debate (or maybe a quick email to O’Neal, but who has that kind of time?), but here we are in 2020, a massively long twelve years removed from 2008 and the onset of the “Great Recession,” and Remnant is here to remind us that certain things can come out of absolutely nowhere and make a huge impression on us. And of course, by that I mean Remnant is poised to make a huge impression. Not sure if that came through.

“But Ryan,” you say, “how can something called ‘Swanshit’ inhabiting the drone idiom make a huge impression on me?” Well, you gotta get into the right headspace, first and foremost, and at the very least. My advice would be to put on headphones, the big aviator ones your parents had for their stereo (unless your parents are millennials, then you’re stuck with cruddy earbuds). Then you can sit in your beanbag chair and close your eyes, letting Christopher O’Neal’s guitar manipulations and pedalboard tomfoolery filter through the headgear and sock up your system. You will have a dumb, euphoric smile on your face the whole time.

The four tracks that make up Remnant dig themselves beneath your surface. They churn, they ripple, they morph. The tones, the frequencies they confine themselves to feel constant, even though that constant is ever-shifting within itself. It’s all like a slow-burn acceleration through space and time where everything is moving at half speed and distance traveled is measured in light years. But there’s this enveloping thickness to it as well that almost passes for warmth. Almost.

Don’t let Swanshit pass you by this time, because the next twelve years might be brutal without it. Allow yourself to be impressed!


--Ryan