For those moments when you need to get away from the idea of music as, y'know, tunes, what with all those distracting rhythms, melodies, lyrics and other fancy accouterments, and you just want to, as Cage said, let music be itself: tracks from recommended new(ish)* releases that soothe body and soul in a colorful sonic bath. And by "soothe" of course I mean that this ain't no New Age audio wallpaper, but can get rather dark and weird at times.
27 minutes of: ambientabstractnoise
1. Philip Jeck "1986 Frank Was 70 Years Old" (from "Surf") - Turntableism as ambient sound collage; guest vox from Woody Woodpecker.
2. Back Magic "Future Graves" (from "Chorus Line To Hell") - Duo's guitar/drum lo-fi racket sometimes resembles actual rock music, and quite nice rock music at that; then we get to this chilling instro, based on a keyboard and air-raid siren sound effects; the apocalypse has never sounded so appealing.
3. Carolina Eyck & Christopher Tarnow "10,000 Bells" (from the as yet unreleased "Improvisations for Theremin and Piano, Vol 1") - Another duo, but they're German, and have had music lessons. Eyck in fact, studied under Lydia Kavina, Leon Theremin's grand-niece and former member of Messer Chups.
4. Allen Ravenstine & Robert Wheeler "Nocturne" (from "City Desk") - YES!! The once and future synth wizards of the mighty Pere Ubu have teamed up for two albums ("City Desk" and "Farm Report") of pure unadulterated analogue electro improv sci-fi soundscape loveliness. "At points one or the other musician would leave the room, letting the antique synthesizer fill in his parts until he returned."
5. Chris Campbell / Grant Cutler "Song 2" (from "Schooldays Over") - The all-too-brief album is a meditation on Ewan MacColl's 1961 Irish folk ballad about kids moving straight from school to backbreaking labor; the song is teased apart and beautifully reconstructed on such self-descriptive tracks as "Pump Organ, Gongs, Balloon Bassoons." Marimbas, glockenspiels and kotos also join the keyboards in beautiful melancholy.
6. Chris Campbell "Water Mirror" (from "Things You Already Know") - Campbell's really been hittin' it lately, what with his work for the crucial Innova label, and not one but two excellent recent albums. On this one, a fairly large cast perform both on standard stuff and on invented instruments and oddities like propane tanks, psaltrys, and singing bowls for something in between ambient, minimalism, and freak rock. So nice.
I also quite liked THIS.
* Except for the Philip Jeck which came out in 1998 but I only just discovered it.