I profiled VVAQRT for Indy Week, the alternative weekly for the Durham-Chapel Hill-Raleigh region of North Carolina (where I live). I must admit: I don’t like that title. Too wordy, too rich. Plus, “elusive” isn’t how I’d describe their excellent music. This is the norm for me. I am a cantankerous freelancer who has cringed at just about every title every editor has ever slapped on my work. The piece turned out pretty well, nevertheless. I have spun the duo’s Detainee album regularly over the last few months, and I wanted to offer readers a taste of where they’re coming from as artists, as well as provide context for the local underground milieu to which they belong. That proved to be quite a lot to juggle. Someday, maybe I will post the raw Q&A I conducted with Mai Phili and Mildew Ethers. It’s a cool read in and of itself. They are thoughtful, smart and unique, and they supplied me with way more insight (intricate and abstruse) than a short feature for a general-interest publication could properly capture. Read here.
I reviewed Lack’s debut 12-inch, Expect Night Work, released via Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records (also home to Metasplice, Charles Cohen and Beaini’s own Morphosis alias). Philip Maier is a vital component to the noise and underground-electronics scene here in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill zone of North Carolina. In addition to productions under the Lack moniker, he participates in collaborative projects VVAQRT and Sagan Youth Boys; he also is quite active in show promotion. Maier, a gearhead and craftsman, is adept at finely constructed decay. As I point-out in my review, “Behind all that thick, analog crud is a musician who’s deceptively fussy about sound design. After all, it takes a lot of hard work to make music this perfectly decayed.” Read the full review here, at Resident Advisor.
Another Prostitutes release, another review. Actually, Truncheon Cadence is two releases, a pair of separately packaged 10-inchers courtesy of Shifted and Ventress’ Mira imprint. I tend to align James Donadio’s project with the “technoise” thing. (I even included a track from the producer on Feral Grind, the technoise / industrial techno compilation I co-curated for Perc’s Submit label.) But while he certainly shares a few basic commonanlities with Profligate, Container, Unicorn Hard-On, etc., these two plates are proof that Donadio has developed a unique sound balancing punk energy and techno craftsmanship. Needless to say, Truncheon Cadence Parts 1 and 2 are outstanding. Read here.
Euglossine, the alias for Tristan Whitehill, just released the digital album Tristaria, and I reviewed it for Resident Advisor. The multi-instrumentalist hails from Gainesville, Florida, home to a really cool underground scene, one obsessed with psychedelic exploration and subtropical hedonism. Here’s a teaser from my piece: “Tristaria is pure fruity cuteness. If it were a cocktail, it’d be served in a hollowed-out coconut with a half-dozen pink parasols sticking out.” Read here.
Here’s what I would call a curveball from the Blackest Ever Black imprint: American-bred, lo-fi exploration in the form of Secret Boyfriend’s This Is Always Where You’ve Lived LP. S.B. is the alias for the North Carolina-based Ryan Martin (who also runs the top notch Hot Releases label). I reviewed the album for Resident Advisor. Read here.
For Resident Advisor I reviewed Halha, the new label retrospective from Mr. Karl O’Connor’s pioneering Downwards label. If you know anything about the always unorthodox O’Connor, then you know to expect a very unique package. As I detail in my piece, Halha is more of a rarities compilation than proper retrospective. Actually, I liken it to The Who’s 1974 rarities compilation Odds & Sods. I wonder if any of RA‘s club-centric readers caught the classic rock reference? Read here.
Charles Cohen is a longtime electronic composer and improviser living in Philadelphia. I first was made aware of the musician in the late ’90s, thanks to drummer and part-time collaborator Ed Wilcox. Cohen can be heard on Bullet In2 Mesmer’s Brain!, the lo-fi, psych-noise epic form Wilcox’s (Laser) Temple of Bon Matin ensemble. What I didn’t know was that Cohen had stashed away a wealth of avant-garde recordings made with his Buchla Music Easel (a type of semi-modular synthesizer). Some of these tapes reached as far back as the late ’70s. Thanks to Rabih Beaini’s Morphine Records label we can now hear alot of this previously unreleased material on a trio of archival titles. I reviewed the first installment, The Middle Distance, for Resident Advisor. Read here.
Less than a month after reviewing his The Red Rope EP for Resident Advisor, I now tackle producer Noah Anthony’s Can’t Stop Shaking 12-inch. Released on the Gooiland Elektro imprint, the plate’s title cut is the most fully realized track he has yet produced. It also happens to be one of the catchiest dance tunes I’ve heard all year. Read here.
James Donadio’s Prostitutes project continues to slay my eardrums. I reviewed his new 10-inch Shatter and Lose for Resident Advisor. A little bit of everything is to be found on the Diagonal-released plate: basement techno crunch, instrumental hip-hop damage, robo-rock trope-a-dopes, etc. Beware the bass frequencies; they rattle sphincters. Read here.