Friday, December 16, 2011

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Great new photographs of Anatomy of Habit taken by Mariah Karson at Lincoln Hall:

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL
Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Anatomy Of Habit - December 3, 2011 - Lincoln Hall - Chicago, IL

Update on 12/27 at MCA

J.R. Robinson, AKA Wrekmeister Harmonies, will be performing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, on Tuesday December 27th at 6:00 PM -- as part of the MCA’s Face the Strange series. Robinson will be screening and conducting a live score to his video, "You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me."

J.R. Robinson is a Chicago-based sound artist who works under the name Wrekmeister Harmonies. He has exhibited his ambient tonefields in numerous international institutions including the Museum of Modern Art, the J.Paul Getty Museum, the Guggenheim, and the Centre Pompidou. For the MCA’s Face the Strange series, Robinson screens and conducts a live score to his video You’ve Always Meant So Much To Me. Inspired by minimalist and structuralist filmmakers, Robinson’s video is a highly meditative and starkly beautiful work that juxtaposes various locations in Tasmania, Detroit, Joshua Tree and Brooklyn. Sonically, this version of Wrekmeister Harmonies explores the darkest corners of ambient black metal. The renowned artists joining Robinson for this performance include Jef Whitehead (Leviathan), Jaime Fennelly (Mind Over Mirrors), Bruce Lamont (Bloodiest, Yakuza), Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea, Twilight), Stavros Giannopolous (The Atlas Moth) and Mark Solotroff (Anatomy of Habit, Bloodyminded), as well as a string section and harpist.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Crucial Blast on The Fortieth Day

The Fortieth Day  "Pelusium: 540 AD"   CD

Here's another reissue disc from The Fortieth Day, the grim industrial side project from Bloodyminded members Mark Solotroff and Isidro Reyes. I've been slowly making my way through the collection of Fortieth Day discs that Solotroff has been releasing on his Bloodlust! label, because as much as I dig the high-frequency terror of Bloodyminded, I find myself coming back to the intense blackened industrial dronescapes of this project much more often.
Pelusium 540 AD, the title a reference to the first recorded outbreak of Black Plague, was released on cassette in 2007 on the Australian label Cipher Productions, and appears here remastered on disc for the first time. Like most of the other Fortieth Day releases, it's made up of two half hour tracks of monstrously heavy and relentlessly bleak machine dronesludge that the duo create using drum machines, bass, synth and guitar, with thick, oceanic waves of black bass rumble and roiling low-frequency smog seething underneath a constantly shifting surface of looped mechanical noises, droning feedback, swells of eerie melodic drift, scraping rhythms, smears of corroded chug run backwards. The first track is massive, monstrous, a dense and hypnotic blast of tectonic machinedirge, while the second is more abstract, a storm of jet-engine drones and howling feedback. A factory-din filled with sparse percussive cracks and random banging and repetitive rattling, the first eight minutes a rumbling, droning wall of low end noise, but then hints of melody start to surface, streaks of feedback and electronics bending into pretty little fragments of melodic sound that flit over the oppressive murk. It's a bleak, apocalyptic noisescape way out on the heavier end of the spectrum, with a heavy undercurrent of bonerattling bassdrone and amp-filth that makes this of interest to fans of the sort of industrial anti-rock that you might have heard on HeadDirt back in the early 90s.

Mark Solotroff playlist in Hammer Smashed Sound

The great website, Hammer Smashed Sound, asked me to come up with a playlist a few weeks ago. Here is what I submitted:

A very nice mention of AoH in an interview with audio engineer Jeremy Lemos...

Crucial Blast on Mauthausen Orchestra

Mauthausen Orchestra "Where Are We Going?"

For the 2008 album Where Are We Going, Italian power electronics pioneer Pierpaolo Zoppo shortened his Mauthausen Orchestra name down to M.O., but the black pulsating electronics that he is known for are still in full force. It is more subdued than the tumorous throbbing horror of such classic Mauthausen Orchestra recordings as Necrofellatio and Murderuck, and dispenses with the explicit images of hardcore sex and extreme violence that made his early albums so notorious, but this is still an unsettling listen, it just takes it's time digging in under your skin. Released by Bloodlust! in a nice digipack package, Where Are We Going is a series of controlled, minimal meditations using extreme distortion that strive to capture the essence of a futile existence, and when I crank this to a sufficiently damaging volume level, it achieves a kind of sonic brain-death through a mixture of abrasive drones and blown-out melodious keyboard dissonance. I'm reminded of Bianchi's recent organ-drone experiments, but Zoppo goes for a much more abrasive aural assault. Such as on the opening track "Intimate Pulsation", which starts as a minimal noisy drone, but evolves into steady streams of over modulated digital distortion that build into a thick multi-layered roar of sputtering, crackling noise. "Sometime Happen" is a much more dramatic piece, a seething mass of ultra-distorted drones and keyboard clusters with extreme blown-out melodies and atonal notes forming within the wall of roiling distorted noise. The densely layered melodic chaos again reminds me not only of Bianchi, but also of some of Prurient's extreme synth pieces. More of these extremely distorted synthclusters form the nucleus of "When Suffering Becomes Show", but it later morphs into a swarming metallic buzz and fluttering keyboard notes, and ends up resembling an experimental electronic score for a 70s science fiction film. The shorter track "Confusion" is almost kosimiche with it's clusters of murky mid-range keys and whooshing tones bathed in speaker crackle, and "Not Allowable" creates a disorienting effect with phased organ drones that stretch endlessly outward. Altogether, these distorted synthdrones burn their way into your grey matter nicely.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Josh Hydeman LP Update

Wow, the Rabid Rabbit vinyl barely just appeared and now the jackets for the Josh Hydeman "Madison's Fence" LP have arrived... And they look AMAZING! That release is still a ways off though, as the master has not been shipped to the pressing plant yet...

Rabid Rabbit LP - Out Now!

B!169 Rabid Rabbit "Czarny Sen" LP - LIMITED EDITION

B!169 Rabid Rabbit "Czarny Sen" LP (regular edition)

"Czarny Sen (BloodLust!), the second full-length from local quartet Rabid Rabbit, has been long awaited around these parts—Reader music editor Philip Montoro wrote back in August about how great the album is. The double-bass-guitar attack has always given their doomy weight a grave-deep foundation, and their newest member, guitarist Dan Sullivan (Arriver), brings a spectacular, nimble style that distills the whole history of heavy music into a crisp palette... I'll match them up against any other avant-doom merchants in the world." - Monica Kendrick / The Chicago Reader

Rabid Rabbit hails from Chicago's west side, East Garfield Park, a beautiful, run down neighborhood populated with survivors and working folks. Rabid Rabbit itself is comprised of survivors and working folks, veterans of bands that embraced rock's more abrasive boundaries. The band emerged on the Chicago Doom scene a few years ago, unapologetically throwing down a raw, stripped down sound that stood out for its attraction to noise and psych rock, anchored by brutal low end sludge. At its core is wife/husband team Andrea Jablonski and Mike Tsoulos playing bass and drums respectively. Later joined by Arman Mabry (bass) and Dan Sullivan (guitar), the sound both thickened and expanded. As Andrea's vocals took on a greater role, Rabid Rabbit's sound simultaneously became more unclassifiable as it developed more character.

"Czarny Sen," Rabid Rabbit's second full-length album (and first with new guitarist Dan Sullivan), captures the band's sound in five songs, using psych, noise, and improv to temper heavy doom metal and sludge. "Eclipse" slowly unfolds around an unstoppable, meditative riff, tied together with vocals chanted in Andrea's native Polish. The dark landscape of "Goliad", alludes to the violence associated with its namesake, a Texas town that was the scene of a massacre in the 19th century. "Suicide Song" inserts the lyrics from infamous torch song "Gloomy Sunday", along with screeching saxophone, rattling percussion, and growled vocals in a 12 minute epic. "Land of the Glass Pinecones" completely reimagines a lost hit by 80s postpunkers Human Sexual Response, supplanting the original's percussive shimmer with a giant, evil riff. Finally, the pagan incantation of "Raven Man" uses bristling slide guitar to build to a ferocious climax. Joining the band intermittently on "Czarny Sen" are heavy hitters from Chicago's noise, metal, and free jazz scene, including Mark Solotroff, Dave Rempis, Bruce Lamont, and Michael Zerang, earning Rabid Rabbit the sometimes accurate label of "improvi-doom."

* To date, Rabid Rabbit has performed alongside the likes of Melt Banana, Thrones, Monarch, Yakuza, Grief, Unsane, Wolf Eyes, Jucifer, Stinking Lizaveta, BLOODYMINDED, Anatomy of Habit and more, and will be announcing upcoming regional live dates in support of their new album coming soon.

1. Goliad
2. Eclipse
3. Suicide Song
4. Land of the Glass Pinecones
5. Raven Man

Sunday, December 11, 2011

BLOODYMINDED "Within The Walls" - Mastering Completed

Mastering was completed yesterday for the new BLOODYMINDED album, "Within The Walls."  I chose to work with Collin Jordan at his studio, The Boiler Room, on Sanford Parker's suggestion.  Collin exclusively focuses on mastering and he previously worked with me on the re-issue of the Intrinsic Action "Sado-Electronics" CD, in 2002, when BLOODYMINDED and Intrinsic Action releases were mostly handled at Alien Soundscapes.  The mastering work went extremely smoothly yesterday and it was completed in about five hours.  So far, everything sounds excellent!