Yek koo returns with primal minimal maximalism – vocal deconstructions rapping inside raw distortions of emotive gut.
All of us are beacons in the void called Desolation Peak, where Kerouac once sat listening to "laconic crackling voices" coming through the radio as the only human sound, bouncing back and forth against the peak of negative space, like the human form with its layers of noise stark against the silence of nature. Intimately confrontational, Desolation Peak owes more to east African ritual chants than it does contemporary guitar modes. Illuminated by the same electricity as A Handful Of Dust or Heather Leigh Murray and like Jandek's best work or Gate's 'Metric' it is a moment of humanity clawed back from an inhuman world by sheer indomitable outsider will. Vocals multiply & fall back into themselves, guitars bloom like flowers of grit, spells are chanted, the guitar wielded like a weapon, worn like a medallion, until the whole record collapses on itself into a slab of groaning gleaming feedback.
Expertly harnessed by Justin Pizzoferrato at Sonelab, MA in 2013. Mastered by Mark Alan Miller. Cover Art by Helga Fassonaki...Edition of 259 on 45rpm quality Czech vinyl.
It's 2013 and although some people would like to tell you that the party is just beginning, the truth is that it's been over for quite some time. Protest music exists only as a form of personal ritual, hedonism is the only exorcism, artists stifle internal impulses in pursuit of career mobility. On Soft Erase Metal Rouge present a solemn meditation on contemporary society's willingness to accept what many before have fought to stop. Soft Erase is a collection of monochromatic machine-pulses ridden into the blank heart of single-take live excursions, a haze of modulated delay and de-synchronized loops, of strings hit endlessly in the hope that meaning may appear... Ritual chants give way to berserk guitar overload...dark vamping leads from nowhere to nowhere burning negation and dismissal as righteous fuel...hazy prayers for rain spill out in the merciless desert heat unspooling into an extended fake-kraut meditation featuring Giles Miller on a beautifully unhurried alto sax.
Cover art based on the censored art of Italian street artist Blu.
Recorded at Ascension Ashram 2011-2012
Mixed by Sean McCann, mastered by James Plotkin. Edition of 300.
Released to coincide with her installation at Human Resources Gallery in Los Angeles as the first part of her musical hagiographies series (more info on that project here) 'Love Song For The Dead C' is a procession of drunkenly stumbling conceptual experiments. Between its humble paste-on sleeves swarms a double LPs worth of ideas crammed into a single LP, tumbling over each other in strange shapes. Bookended by two renditions of a Persian love song (one sung in Farsi, one in English) that trade in the same echoing confusion as her recent Alone Together 7", 'Love Song For The Dead C' belongs to the tradition of the great outsider sides of the early 90's (Twin Infinitives, Market Square, Harsh 70's Reality) more than it does to anything of this desperately conformist epoch. Like those records it has a purity of form resulting from an individual working to tie the knots of the past into the shape of a personal present, outside of scene or market concerns. In 'Bye Bye Blackbird' dissonant chiming slowly unfurls into a vast chasm of sound over a mesmeric nine minutes. A disorienting or disoriented guitar wafts through a wah-ed swirl of delay and distant Dead C samples in 'Rose The Provider'. 'The Top Is The Bottom' is a harrowing slow-motion crawl through alleys and sewers of room tone as captured by the tunnel-vision fidelity of the trademark Yek Koo dictaphone. This is living, breathing, human music – no ringtones, no product placement – just heart, tears and breath, easy and free.
Edition of 288, with handmade bootleg style paste-on covers. Mastered by Sean McCann.
Click here to listen to Soltane Ghalbam (king of my heart)
Love Song for the Dead C LP - $12.00
New Zealand-born Tokyo-based physicist Mark Sadgrove aka MHFS aka Hometown Feilding has been quietly upsetting petty notions like 'music' since 2004 when his 'West Auckland Driving Songs' CDR barely drifted onto the scene via Campbell Kneale's Celebrate Psi Phenomena label. From the start all the hallmarks were in place: site specific recordings, lyrical domesticity, systematically illogical recording choices, an acoustic guitar strung only with low Es (his favorite string - who wouldn't want more of a good thing?), invented instruments, real-time linux csound programming, obsessively repeated lyrical fragments, an almost Buddhist sense of 'sound as object', songs buried so quietly under so much hiss that even the most jaded 'difficult music' fans double checked their players to make sure something wasn't broken. In 2006 Metal Rouge played their first ever show (at the Wine Cellar in Auckland, New Zealand) which also doubled as Helga's farewell party for her imminent departure back home to the US. MHFS was asked to play, but busy at work on his PhD thesis ('Resonant Quantum Transport for Kick Atoms') was unable to make it and handed us 'The Grey Lynn Homeless Set' to be played over the PA in lieu of an in-person performance. Billed as a 'special non-appearance by MHFS', Saturday night bar patrons were subjected to completely brutalized fragments of bone-dry pointillist guitar, seemingly random electronic beats jumping across the stereo spectrum and two sub sub sub low fidelity acoustic 'folk' songs buried under masses of hiss and digital haze – the only audible lyrics something about being 'fucking angry'. I wish I could say the bar regulars stopped in their tracks, stunned by the sheer alien illogic of the misshapen audio tumbling from the bar PA, but alas… Most punters just assumed the PA was on the fritz and went back to their drinks – those sounds couldn't possibly be intentional, right? Emerald Cocoon is now proud to present 'The Grey Lynn Homeless Set' in it's short and confusing entirety. Check your cables, check your speakers – beauty has never sounded so broken. Part 4 of the 'Alone Together' series. Mastered by Pete Swanson. Edition of 300.
Click here to listen to untitled track 2 on side 2
Alone Together #4 7" - $6.50
Helga Fassonaki (of Metal Rouge) returns as Yek Koo with her first new release since last years 'I Saw Myself' on Stunned Records. Gone are the horizontal string-sprawl epics of past, replaced by a new density and compositional focus. Dictaphone guitar-swirl and declamatory vocal preaching atop loping nod-out rhythm samples, you could almost say Yek Koo has gone pop….until the b-side hits: a sheet of live industrial slamming recorded at LA's now defunct spiritual hub, the Echo Curio, that sounds like a realtime channelling of Kali. As hard to pin down as ever, the closest point of comparison would be the Morley/Russell split 7" lathe on Corpus Hermeticum left to percolate in the merciless Californian sun And even that sounds nothing like it. Confusing, enticing, nuanced and brutal. Part 3 of the 'Alone Together' series. Mastered by Pete Swanson. Edition of 300.
Click here to listen to an excerpt of Oh Woman
Alone Together #3 7" - $6.50
Ashley Paul's music is the intersection of so many different facets of late 20th century art music that sometimes I'm surprised that the vinyl can still spin under the weight of all the ideas contained within. Modern composition, euro free clatter and textural psychedelia converge as stilted song forms on the verge of careering off the very face of form on thin lines of carefully controlled reed-skree. Amazing that a music so loaded with ideas could feel so hand crafted and warm. Guitar, vocals, crotales and saxophone stitched together and moving in a constant slow peristalsis, never quite coalescing, never quite drifting apart. Equal parts alien unease and folkish charm, these slowly tangled tones drift prismatic and high in the late afternoon light. Ashley is also one half of Aster (with artist of equal genius and partner in life/crime Eli Keszler) and Paul & Maurey (with Sakiko Mori). Part 2 of the 'Alone Together' series.
Mastered by Pete Swanson. Edition of 300.
Click here to listen to an excerpt of Hidden Face
Alone Together #2 7" - $6.50
Sunken's previous two albums on Pseudo Arcana were long form chord-organ driven flights into the heart of the ecstatic blaring sun. Despite Antony Milton (The Nether Dawn, Glory Fckn Sun etc.) and Stefan Neville's (Pumice) lovecraftian attempts to posit Sunken as sea-shanties sung by sailors lost to Cthulhu at the bottom of the deepest darkest ocean, somehow their surging reed driven organs and vocal streams broadcast via cracked electronics seemed to suggest sailors breaking free of the weeds and swimming towards the light, and even, occasionally, breaking the surface. Their first vinyl release New Zealand Eels however, is a tentacle shot from the abyss to drag the sailors back down into the service of the lurker in the deep. Bleak, black and completely drowned, New Zealand Eels beams five submarine tracks from the lost to the lost through the milky darkness. With the vocal melodies pushed to the foreground and the instrumental origins of the music obscured as never before by damaged baby monitors, power starved dictaphones, tape saturation and spring reverb, Sunken are now finally, truly lost to the abyss. Two drowned sailors invite you to breathe in the water, forget about life on the surface and lay down with the kraken amidst the curling weeds. "What has risen may sink, and what has sunk may rise. Loathsomeness waits and dreams in the deep, and decay spreads over the tottering cities of men." – H P Lovecraft
Edition of 300 with free digital download. Thick reverseboard sleeves with art by Stefan Neville.
Click here to listen to Census
New Zealand Eels LP - $14.00