Tag Archives: cinnamon aluminum

[Archive 01.23.13]

The Upstaet Soundscape, 1.23.13

1) Mountains, “Propeller” Centralia (Thrill Jockey)

2) Oneohtrix Point Never, “Cubi X” Oneohtrix Point Never/Rene Hell 12″ Split (NNA Tapes)

3) Ay Fast and Collapsed Arc, “Hagan,” Fluorescent Vesper 

4) Neu!, “Liber Honig” Neu! (United Artists)

5) Cairo, “Bullsuite: City of Children” Cairo (Obsolete Media Objects)

6) Thoughts on Air, “Time Killer (Side E excerpt)”

7) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Photosynthesis”

8) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Is You Me (Holy)”

9) Kid on Purpose, “Don’t Stop” Wet Dreams 

10) Kid on Purpose, “Fetishism” Wet Dreams

11) Milk Soda, “Cousin Mayonnaise”

12) Kristachuwan, “Shani Dev”

13) Kristachuwan, “Other Reasons”

14) Cinnamon Aluminum, “My Cyberface” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit

15) Frank Zappa, “Wind Up Working at a Gas Station” Zoot Allures

16) Mr. Bungle, “Goodbye Sober Day” California

17) James Blake, “Air and Lack Thereof”


[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.

 


[Archive: 12.5.12]

The Upstate Soundscape, 12.5.12

1) Scott Walker, “Tar,” Bish Bosch (4AD)
2) Mercury Rev, “BLue and Black,” Yerself is Steam (Mint/Jungle) 1991
3) Tony Conrad and Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, “Demilitariuzed Ozone,” Taking Issue (Dais)
4) Michael Pisaro, “New Orleans,” Tombstones (HEM)
5) Alfred Brown, “The Seagull: An Overture,” The Seagull: A Song Cycle (Abandoned Buildings)
6) Robert Phillips, “Shindo No Su,” Performed by  Talea Ensemble
7) Mike Parker, “Forward – The 5am Mix” Pulse Trader EP (Prologue)
7) Ay Fast, “For Shemmmm,” Nice Arps (Schematic)
8) James Ferraro, “SO N2U,” Sushi (Hippos in Tanks)
9) Believer/Law, “The Task at Hand,” Fox Hole Prayers/The Task at Hand (cae-sur-a)
10) Lee Gamble, “M25 Echo,” Diversions 1994-1996 (Pan)
11) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Forest of Leisure,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
12) Slowpitch, “Subtle Multipurpose,” The Upstate Soundscape Sampler, Vol. I (Wampizdat)
13) DeTrop, “Four Stages Apostasy,” Man, Woman & Beast (House of Alchemy)
14) Nite Lite, “Fire Walkers,” Megrez (Desire Path Recordings)
15) Tired Wires, “The Luthier”
16) Paper Armies, “Together”

 


[Free Music Friday: Cinnamon Aluminum and Yes Yes, 'It's a Hundred Years Old]

Back in April when Cinnamon Aluminum came on the radio show, they played a very interesting track off a long-gestating collaborative album with Yes Yes that is now finally seeing the light of day.

Each of the songs on the album is a different improvised chant presented in very raw form without any sort of overdubbing or post-production. The result is a very intimate record of three dudes collectively riffing, while having an all around blast. Fans of Cinnamon Aluminum will also hear familiar melodies and lines that would later end up as full blown Cinnamon Aluminum songs. Good stuff indeed.


[Review: Kristachuwan, 'Pterodactyl Fish']

Chris Svoboda is a multi-media artist who provides both a sonic underpinning and visual flash for his band Cinnamon Aluminum, an indie-psych trio out of Buffalo. Sonically, Svoboda handles beats, electronics, and saxophone; visually, he contributes artwork for the group’s album covers and designs the projections used in live performances. With Pterodactyl Fish–under his solo moniker Kristachuwan–Svoboda has built a bridge between his two roles as audio and visual artist by creating what he rightly calls a video album. The result is potent blend of swirling digital imagery and animation with pulsating electronic beats and psychedelic synths. Visual motifs closely follow musical cues (or perhaps its the other way around) while the movement of animated figurines are synced in hypnotic fashion to rhythmic sounds of all kinds.

While Animal Collective’s ODDSAC is perhaps the easiest reference to compare Pterodactyl Fish to since the two visual albums are psychedelic experimentations with the synthesis of audio and visual, there are other specific visual references within Pterodactyl Fish that film or visual culture aficionados will certainly appreciate. For instance, there a number of motifs that seems to spring from an appreciation of Japanese culture, including samurai mythology and anime characters. The neon outlined samurai that stoically stalks the viewer on “Samurai Haircut” (which was modeled by Cinnamon Aluminum band mate Mike Schroeder) could easily be a re-animated character from Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 masterpiece Seven Samurai.

Other visual influences that seem to be referenced include 1960s acid test projections, Adult Swim, early music videos, and all types of low-budget greenscreen work that you might stumble upon on public access television at 3am. All of these references, however, only explain the expansive visual grammar used within this project. One could perhaps  argue (unconvincingly) that the visual element of Pterodactyl Fish, on its own, is just a string of images linked together by a hipster film student; the beauty here though lies in Svoboda’s ability to beautifully interweave all of these disparate images and then interlock them with music that perfectly complements them to create a single, unified audio-visual experience.

At times, the work does have the feel of an MFA project; some transitions are a bit too abrupt, some motifs feel as if they have been discarded before they have culminated into their full expression. Regardless of these minor flaws—and their descriptions as ‘flaws’ is debatable—this is the work of a talented visual mind, one that is clearly going for it.

Watching Pterodactyl Fish might be akin to reading an early short story by a great author who would later go on to develop a distinctive and recognizable voice. Initially, however, that distinctive voice may not have quite translated itself out of the mind of the artist and onto the page, or in this case the screen in front of the viewer. The creative training wheels haven’t quite come off as the artist is forced to lean on homage a little longer before the truly unique creative voice emerges. But anyone who appreciates the creative process and artistic development must intrinsically sense this and be thrilled by the audacity of Svoboda’s efforts here and where he might be going next.

Regardless of what may or may not be in store for Svoboda, as musician or visual artist, this particular work right here really deserves to be seen in a communal theater setting on a large screen with its electronically pulsating sounds pumping out of a solid speaker system. It is laced with stunning visual ideas some that last ever so briefly, as if they were only tiny ideas meant to evolve into a more expansive and important idea. What exactly is that important idea? Hard to say, but it is certainly worthwhile trying to figure it out.

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Review by Jamie Moore


[Archive 06.13.12]

1) Man Forever, “Surface Patterns,” Live on WFMU (Free Music Archive)
2) Bear Flames, “Sabbath”
3) Torus, “Jesus Igloo,” Basement Tapes
4) All of Them Witches, “That’s a Real Head Scratcher,” Breathers vs. Drivers 
5) Bees////, “WEARETHEBEES,” GA/KA
6) Oneida, “Story of O,” Rated O (Jagjaguwar)
7) Moonwood, “Where the Flowers Blossoms Red” The Strength of the Wolf is in the Pack and the Strength of the Wolf is in the Pack is in the Wolf
8) Wolfcow, “Hey Rides,” Mummies Call
9) Doom Tickler, “One of Us,’ Pleasure Cavern
10) Yamanataka/ Sonic Titan, “Reverse Crystal//Murder of a Spider” YY//ST
11) Doldrums, “Egypt” Egypt (Souterrain Transmissions)
12) Dusted, “(Into) The Atmosphere” Total Dust (Polyvinyl)
13) Odonis Odonis, “Busted Lip” Hollandaze (Fat Cat)
14) Doldrums, “I’m Lost in My Head,” Empire Sound (No Pain in Pop)
15) Berangere Maximin with Richard Pinhas, “Carnaval Cannibale” No One is an Island (Sub Rosa)
16) Cinnamon Aluminum, “New Couch,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)


[Archive 04.18.12: Cinnamon Aluminum special]

1) Ducktails, “On the Boardwalk,” Landscapes (Olde English Spelling Bee)
2) (technical difficulties)
3) ProEf, “Slow Motion Through My Window,” All Eye Know (Outnorot)
4) Skeleton Zoo, “Devil’s Lettuce,” The Busride EP
5) Ay Fast, “Little Big Parent,” Always Crying (Schematic)
6) Oneohtrix Point Never, “Sleep Dealer,” Replica (Mexican Summer)
7) Sculpture, “Bonus Level,” Toad Blinker (Dekorder)
8) Cinnamon Aluminum, “New Couch,” (Level 4 Activated)
9) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Ma Cyberface,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activate)
10) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Forest of Leisure,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
11) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Porn,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
12)Cinnamon Aluminum, “Poppin Squirrels,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
13)Cinnamon Aluminum, “When I Was You,”We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
14) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Eighteen-Four (The Ending of a Robot’s Dream),” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
15) Cinnamon Aluminum and Mike ‘Yes-Yes’ Ersing, “Is You Me (Holy)”
16) Gang Gang Dance, “Glass Jar,” Eye Contact (4AD)
17) Kid on Purpose, “The Jungis”
18) Toro y Moi, “Freakin Out,” Freaking Out EP
19) LCD Soundsystem, “Home,” This is Happening (DFA)
20) David Byrne and Brian Eno, “Jezebel Spirit” My Life in the Bush of Ghosts (Sire)


[Preview 4.18.12: Cinnamon Aluminum in Studio w/ New Album]

Tonight on the Upstate Soundscape, Cinnamon Aluminum will return to the WBNY studio in order to preview their upcoming album, We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit.

The Buffalo trio will also their album release party this Friday at the Vault. 

Show starts at 10pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.


[Review: Cinnamon Aluminum, 'We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit']

Since the release of Cinnamon Aluminum’s 2010 debut album, Mad Monty in the 8th Dimension of Nine, the Buffalo trio have proved to be a music writer’s wet dream. Their unique and seemingly effortless re-configuration of all the right strands of experimental indie/rock into a throbbing acid-drenched soundtrack transports hard-to-please listeners to a place they’re always hoping to go, but can seldom find a ride to.

And while the group’s first album–and ensuing EP Holdin’ It Up–proved to be sufficient vehicles for taking listeners on that trip, their new album, We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit, marks the first time that the band provides first-class accommodation to all those ready to undertake the journey. What is the name of this dementedly humorous and scifi-infused virtual destination where psychedelic characters like Mad Monty and a tripping robot roam freely, you ask? Perhaps the name of their label, Level 4 Activated, is more than the name a simply a label . . .

Regardless, Cinnamon Aluminum doesn’t get by just because they have the right influences. In fact, they even manage to dip into the wells of lamer musical genres like trance and jam band—as on “Eighteen Four (End of the Robot’s Dream)”—without getting cornered by the inherent corniness of those sounds. Instead, it’s as if the trio is dropping into these worlds for a brief moment to show the musicians who never leave it how it is done before zooming along to the next world.

This should come as no surprise considering the collision of influences that occur across their three releases. When the band’s three multi-instrumentalist members–Zach Acard (aka Kid On Purpose), Chris Svoboda (aka Kristachuwan), and Mike Schroeder (aka Milk Soda)–put their heads together, their sound takes on shades of Devo, Zappa, Panda Bear/Animal Collective, Of Montreal, Atlas Sound, P-Funk, and Kraftwerk, to name a few of the more obvious.

The song “Swing Swar” is reminiscent of the saturated wall-of-sound that Canadian producer David Newfeld pioneered with Broken Social Scene on albums like You Forgot it In People; a swollen sound field punctuated by frantic, but subtle electronic whirring and buzzing at the edges that creates  a sonic foundation that is felt, as opposed to simply heard. On top of this, Cinnamon Aluminum rests crisp, treble-heavy guitars, tightly wound and tense drum patterns, and chanting vocals that sound like they were recorded in the Grand Canyon.

Another highlight is “When I Was You,” which melds the grimy horn-fueled electro of Beck’s Odelay period with modulated disco synths, which then ends in a spectacular duel between Svoboda’s fluttering saxophone and a lone syncopated synth.

The highlight of the album, though, is no doubt its anthemic centerpiece “Forest of Leisure.” This densely layered electronic track is anchored by a funky groove that slowly morphs alongside shimmering melodic flourishes. This is also where the vocal-trading duties of Schroeder and Acard realize their full potential. The ‘he’s tripping/I’m tripping/we’re tripping‘ call-and-response between the two is musically as good as it gets and also perfectly captures the exhilaration of a collaborative hallucinogenic adventure.

Regardless of the sci-fi narrative or concept that underlies We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit, it seems that the entire album–and everything else that the three members of the group do under the banner of Level 4 Activated–is in the spirit of a collaborative hallucinogenic adventure. Fortunately, they record those adventures so that the rest of us can tag along.

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Review by Taylor Waite

 NOTE: Cinnamon Aluminum will be in studio for this week’s episode of The Upstate Soundscape to play tracks off of We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit. Tune in at 10pm on Wednesday night (4/18) to 91.3 FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.

Also, Cinnamon Aluminum will be having an album release party on 4/20 (of course) at the Vault. More info here. 


[Archive 04.11.12]

1) Lucky Dragons, “Exsisters,” Exsisters 
2) Lesley Flanigan, “Sleepy”
3) Digital Dog Party, “Your Heart Gave Fuzz”
4) The Cubes, “Pacifique Live Improvisation”
5) Spurgeasaurus, “Working Title (Active Ingredient)”
6) Cloud Becomes Your Hand, “Rootabega Pigeons,” S/T
7) Beef Terminal, “Empty Beach,” Humidex 
8) Ghost Father, “Shrift”
9) Cinnamon Aluminum, “Forest of Leisure,” We Ate the Wrong Crab Spirit (Level 4 Activated)
10) Tristan Perich, “Interface,”  string quartet, 4-channel 1-bit electronic
11) Kirk Starkey, “Hidden I Nocturne,” Little Gidding
12) Matthew Ship, “Alternative Aspects,” Elastic Aspects 
13) TJ Borden, “Contractions”
14) Salem:1976, “Everything is Going to Be OK”
15) Totem Pole, “Improvisatoin # 2,” Live at the Vault March 14, 2012
16) Jookla Duo and Bill Nace, “Scratch Here,” Scratch 


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