1) God Speed You Black Emperor, “Their Helicopters Sing,” Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (Constellation)
2) Nite Lite, “Participation Mystique,” Megrez (Desire Path Recordings)
3) Alog, “Spanish Record No. 9,” Unemployed
4) Jealousy Mountain Duo, “Latino Heaven,” No. 2 (Blunoise Records)
5) Off the International Radar, “Sans Ohmm,” OTIR 003
6) Mountains, “Liana,” Centralia (Thrill Jockey)
7) Creation VI, “Mu-ar,” Pantheophania (cae-sur-a)
8) Damian Valles, “Old Quarters,” The Upstate Soundscape Vol. I: Winter 2013
9) VWLS, “Witch in the Carpet,” Broadcast in the Moss (Bad Drone Media)
10) Cages, “First Seed”
11) Parashi, “Undulate,” Parashi/Chapels Split (House of Alchemy)
12) Trance, “Monk On Fire,” Guitar Noise EP (Charnel House Productions)
13) Zelienople, “Out of It,” The World is a House on Fire (Under the Spire)
14) Quintron, “Train Ride,” Sucre de Savage (Goner Records)
15) Brandon Terzic and Ravi Padmanabha, “Hamza al Hendrix” Western Skies, Eastern Dreams
16) Golden Rain, “Ketjak: The Ramayana Monkey Chant” Explorer Series: Balinese Gamelan Music (Nonesuch)
Here we have two of Albany’s finest, Rambutan and Parashi, teaming up for their first collaborative release via Frankfurt-based Sicsic Tapes. The title of the tape, Lesser Halogens, evokes images of half-dead blackened lamps barely illuminating the decaying space surrounding them. The tape builds on this theme conjuring up a bleak world shrouded in darkness, dim lights flickering over foreign objects and alien faces. Gone are the warm friendly tones found on Rambutan’s more recent releases, like his split with Tidal on Aguirre or his Typhoon Shapes cassette on cae-sur-a. Instead we are presented with a cold electronic hum that underpins most of the tracks with searing squelches of electronics cutting through the noise to rupture any sign of stillness.
The A-side keeps things dark slow-moving, allowing you to relish the noise as it envelops you. On “Halogen 1″ large sluggish masses of distortion roll in over the underlying din. Giant sonic shapes drift over otherwise vacant landscapes, eventually slamming into each other. Sounds moan and contort as they crash together, their echoes calling attention to the vast expanses they roam.
“Halogen 2″ opts for electronics that swarm around in a chattering and buzzing manner. This is the sound of chlorine being heated slowly so it reacts with whatever else is in the tube. Piercing noises emerge from the drone as the track gains energy. By the end the chlorine eats through its container and the escaped gas spills out chewing through the organic material around it with an increasing intensity.
Things slow down on “Halogen 3,” which drops to a slow eerie crawl. Digital ghosts float through a cold sterile world entirely alienated from any human presence. Electricity pulses in its quiet atmosphere, cracking and hissing as it moves through its circuitry.
The B-side picks up some, with each of its two tracks containing something of a beat. ”Halogens 4″ has a listless pulse buried behind an atmosphere full of dread, and couldn’t sound more like your heart as you hide in some cramped space waiting for some inevitable doom. The slow thump fills the space echoing louder than you would like, a turncoat calling out to the terror that is slowly sliding toward you.
The highlight of the album is the last track “Halogen 5,” also the cassette’s longest track, clocking in at 15 minutes. It is also the most upbeat and it rushes to an amazing climax that finishes off the tape in perfect fashion. At first though, the track starts with almost nothing. A synth, or a sample, and then silence. From there a cry calls out to you from somewhere off in the distance. Bursts of static gradually surround you. Slowly rhythm is added and you can even hear something like drums. Finally, a slow but steady rise in the tempo. Midway through the track the drone turns into a blur with a stream of incomprehensible things rushing past you. A myriad of small samples flit by for you to try to pick through. The drums begin to pound at a pace you could dance to, if it didn’t sound like you were in the middle of a war zone. Synths scream out to you, heightening the tension. Then, abruptly, at its peak, it fades away to nothing. All the energy is spent, the burst at the end destroys itself.
Rambutan, who runs the Tape Drift label, and Parashi, who runs the Skell LLC label, do an amazing job at dragging you into such a desolate world and holding you there captivated by the dark atmosphere while not letting you get tired of what could serve as bland source material in less capable hands. One hopes that this is the first of many collaborative recordings between these two Albany mainstays.
Rambutan and Parashi – Lesser Halogens (Sicsic Tapes)
Tonight on The Upstate Soundscape, we’ll hear a new track from a collaborative project between two of Albany’s finest, Rambutan and Parashi.We also got some new stuff from Rochester’s cae-sur-a label, Buffalo duo Phillips-Borden, as well an excerpt from Primordial/Lift, a new release from Pauline Oliveros on the Taiga label.
Got some other psychy-synthy stuff lined up along with some good ol’ fashioned noise in honor of the Voice of the Valley Noise Rally that’s happening this weekend in West Virginia. Plenty of other random goodness as well.
Show starts at 9pm on 91.3FM WBNY. Stream at WBNY.org.
1) Afghanistan, “Cicada Song,” And Bide Your Time 2) Mister Matthew, “Innerspaced (excerpt),” Telecut Powers (Gift/Draft Tapes)
3) Digital Dog Party, “Life’s Intermission,”
4) Steve Baczkowski and Nola Ranallo, “Marrow Bird,” Live the Soundlab
5) Rust Worship, “Side A (Excerpt),” Terrerestial Society (House of Alchemy)
6) Parashi, “Undulate,” Parashi/Chapels Splits (House of Alchemy)
7) Venn Rain, “The History of Things to Come,” Bioharmonics (House of Alchemy)
8) DeTrop, “Four Stages Apostasy (excerpt),” Man, Woman & Beast (House of Alchemy)
9) Mama Baer, “Track 1,” Perverted People Girl Fuckers (House of Alchemy)
10) Scott Valkwitch, “InfraRed Black Haze,” TBA (House of Alchemy)
11) Jason Lescalleet, “Accidental Orriental,” Electronic Music (RRR)
12) Hive Mind, “Side 1 (excerpt),” Elemental Disgrace (Spectrum Spools)
13) Yek Koo, “East Hollywood Studio,” A Plea for a Night Desert
14) Clay Cantrell, “Late Aster Girl,” The Tree Farmer (House of Alchemy)
15) Transplant Mountains, “So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World (excerpt),” Transplant Mountains/Chapels Split (House of Alchemy)
16) Mundkrach & Kommissar Hjuler und Frau, “Track 3 excerpt,” A/N/T/I/Z/I/P/A/T/I/O/N (House of Alchemy)
17) Sheldon Siegel, “Side A excerpt”Midden (House of Alchemy)
18) Rambutan, “Midpoint (excerpt),” Rambutan/Fossils from the Sun Split (House of Alchemy)
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.
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)”
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.
Celadoncrackles 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 Celadon–which 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.