Posts Tagged ‘Ipecac Recordings’

Ipecac Recordings –15th May 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Because Melvins’ staggeringly prolific output clearly isn’t enough to keep singer and guitarist Buzz Osborne occupied, he’s gone and put out a second solo album, following on from 2014’s This Machine Kills. This time working with the equally prolific frequent collaborator and some-time Melvin Trevor Dunn, Buzzo offers up nine primarily acoustic songs.

The first thing to point out is that it doesn’t sound remotely like Mevins. There are some stoner / psychedelic twists spun in, but the overall vibe is one of brooding folk. Buzzo’s trademark full-lunged vocal I more often than not replaced by a hushed, breathy drawl. It’s pretty cool and works well in context. Solemn strings swoop and soar and cast long, lugubrious shadows over soft-strummed guitar: ‘Housing, Luxury’, Energy’ has the guitar feel of one of Nirvana’s acoustic songs, but tears into a heft chorus that growls and lurches hard.

There are some moments where the simplicity is stunning in itself: sometimes, when stripping things right, right back, there is time and space to bask in tones and the way notes resonate. There is a rare beauty in the way acoustic notes hang in the air, the details of how a harder or softer pick or strum varies the intonation. And we get this often on Gift Of Sacrifice: the sparse instrumentation is magnificent, notably on the rolling ‘Delayed Clarity’, but across the album a whole it’s a feature. ‘Science in Modern America’ finds Osborn growl-crooning over a cyclical chord sequence. It’s kinda sci-fi, it’s kinda dystopian and suddenly kinda now. Elsewhere, and in contrast, ‘Mock She’ is some kind of drunk country, and the depths and layers of Gift Of Sacrifice continue to reveal themselves, meaning that what may superficially appear ordinary is, in fact, pretty warped.

So, yes, this being Buzzo, things do weird out in places – many places, if truth be told – like on the brief interlude that is ‘Junkie Jesus’, and the frantic warped string frenzy that is the outro, ‘Acoustic Junkie’. Then there’s the fact that the portentous strum of ‘Bird Animal’, to all intents and purposes a psychedelic acoustic motoric minus percussion, dissolves into fluttering R2D2 bleeps a minute or so before the end. Like the way ‘Mock She’ descends into frenzied free jazz for 30 seconds in the middle, while fractured distortion obliterates the vocals in the final verses. You envisage Buzzo sitting in the studio with the producer, leaning over and twiddling knobs here there and everywhere, and everyone present shouting ‘just leave everything alone!’ But of course, then it wouldn’t have that unique twist that transforms some solid songs into works of warped genius. And that’s precisely what this is.

AA

127646

Ipecac Recordings – 24th April 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

Some cursory research tells me that Oscillospira is an anaerobic bacterial genus from Clostridial cluster IV that has resisted cultivation for over a century since the first time it was observed. There’s a distinct compositional theme across the album’s eight compositions, although, with high drama and dynamics dominating.

Thirlwell has been mining a rich seam of orchestral drama for a long while now, in a trajectory that began with the 1985 Foetus album Nail. Since then, his projects have become increasingly expansive and ambitious, and the last decade has seen him abandon all trace of anything that could be remotely construed as ‘industrial’ in favour of grand cinematics, not only on the latter Foetus albums, but also the Manorexia releases and soundtrack works and all the other various side projects… Did I mention that over 40 years into his career, despite having tempered his wilder sonic urges, Thirlwell’s creativity and output remains unabated? And yet for all the volume, the quality remains undented. I make no apologies for the fact that I’m a total fan, and have been forever.

Few musicians are even a fraction as articulate as Thirlwell, musically, lyrically, or conversationally. Throughout his lengthy career, he’s retained his somewhat enigmatic status and singular musical view.

This collaboration with Simon Steensland is one of many during his career, and is very much representative of Thirlwell’s output over the last decade: heavy orchestral work with all the widescreen feel of a John Williams work, while at the same time seeing Thirlwell return to territories that bring industrial and orchestral together in a head-on collision.

‘Catholic Deceit’ enters by stealth with a sweep of strings, but swiftly develops into something bold and layered, before crunching metal guitars grind in hard and heavy. Revisiting the religious theme at the album’s mind-point, single release ‘Papal Stain’ follows a similar trajectory, with some energetic jazz drumming and discordant horns clashing crazily over the course of its ten-minute running time.

‘Heron’ goes choral and a little bit original Star Trek, but equally has some hushed, eerie passages that not only provide contrast, but alter the mood significantly. There’s a Swans-like stop-start guitar grind at the heart of ‘Night Shift’ over which monastic vocals echo like a ritual, and ‘Heresy Flank’ pushes a cyclical groove that’s ruptured by some classic orchestral strikes.

It’s not just the arrangements and the varied instrumentation that are outstanding in their immense vision and inventiveness, but the production too: it’s immense, and while the overall effect is one thing, the detail entirely another, as incidentals leap out unexpectedly, and different instruments rise to the to fore. Often, such details are subtle, but the effect and impact are pronounced, and something special.

AA

index

Legendary NYC based musician JG Thirlwell (Foetus, Manorexia, Xordox) and composer Simon Steensland present the cinematic noir of their new track "Papal Stain" from the new collaborative album Oscillospira, to be released 24 April on Ipecac Recordings.

Speaking on the track Thirlwell remarks, "’Papal Stain’ is a multi movement piece which takes the listener on a cinematic journey that vacillates wildly in mood before its tumultuous climax. Along with Thirlwell and Steensland playing many instruments between them, the track features performances by drum virtuoso Morgan Ågren (Devin Townshend Band, Zappa, Mats Morgan) Simon Hanes (Tredici Bacci) on guitar, Chris McIntyre (Tilt Brass, Either/Or, SEM Ensemble) on trombone and Joanna Mattrey (Tredici Bacci) on violins."

A frequent collaborator with the likes of Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Kronos Quartet and many others, JG Thirlwell is also the composer for the highly acclaimed animated TV series  ‘Archer’ and ‘Venture Bros’ while Swedish multi-instrumentalist Simon Steensland is known for his compositions for theatre.

Different yet complementary, both creators make idiosyncratic music that can be characterised by dramatic intensity, shadowy suspense, darkness and light, sometimes breathtaking and always evocative cinematics. Oscillospira is an odyssey of dark chamber prog with a cinematic bent, largely instrumental album with eerie choral parts.

JG Thirlwell and Simon Steensland’s journey together first began in 2017 in Stockholm at a workshop for the Great Learning Orchestra, a collective that operate on the model of an experimental music ensemble from the late 60s, Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra, using musicians from a variety of backgrounds and abilities. 

JG Thirlwell recounts "I had been a fan of Steensland’s work for some years through his albums like Led Circus and Fat Again. I admired the dark power in his work and it seemed adjacent to a lot of music that I love and inspires me – groups in the Rock in Opposition and Zeuhl worlds such as Magma, Univers Zero and Present, as well as 70’s era King Crimson and Bartok."

AA

index

Ipecac Recordings – 13th March 2020

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s inevitable that a city the size of New York would throw up a large quantity of bands. Big cities tend to simply by virtue of the fact it’s more likely there’ll be likeminded individuals to collaborate with, as well as an audience who’ll appreciate even the nichest of styles. But as a city, New York is a place of extremely, of polarities, and so is all things. A cultural melting pot, a city of dreams a disappointment, a lifemaker and a lifebreaker.

The 80s No Wave threw up a host of bands who captured the gritty realities of living in a city where the pace of life is relentless, and conveyed the drudgery of life at the bottom of the pile, for who, life isn’t about swanky parties in oft apartments, but 12-hour shifts in low-paid jobs that rely on tips just to cover the rent for a grimy, cockroach-infested one-bed hellhole. Bands like Swans, Unsane, and Cop Shoot Cop soundtracked the grim realities of the everyday: not so much the seedy underbelly, as the day-to-day reality of the masses.

As the press release notes, ‘Human Impact’s first recordings are a dark mirror held up to the band’s collective pre-history – the sound and story of Unsane, Swans, Cop Shoot Cop, and New York City itself. It’s sound is cinematic post-industrial filth rock, a dozen run down subway stops away from recognizable civilisation, as futuristic as it is grounded in its sordid heritage. The result is a potent, hard-boiled distillation of this sonic ethos’. It’s a fair summary, and the album is every bit as hard-hitting as the parts and the sum intimate

Released as the first single (although what actually constitutes a single these days seems to be increasingly vague), the six-minute ‘November’ stood as a statement of the band’s intent, and serves the same purpose in opening the album: it’s a grainy-mid-tempo grindout built around a nagging, woozy bass that has hints of broken jazz chords and it loops around itself and weaves through jagged shards of twisted guitar. Second advance release, ‘E605’ (a highly toxic insecticide) crashes in immediately after, making for twin-pronged attack by way of an opening salvo: it’s slower, steelier, bringing the grey monotone nihilism of Unsane and blending it with the relentlessness of Swans. The result is paranoid and claustrophobic.

While pinning itself into a dingy, piss-spattered, litter-strewn corer of a back alley in a cityscape dominated by surveillance and oppressive government, there’s a fair range of texture, tone, and tempo across the album as a whole, if not necessarily much by way of levity. ‘Protester’ has the swagger and swing of Unsane at their best, but brings with it a melody and a synth doodle that brings some kind of levity, at least in comparative terms and in context, and the result is vaguely reminiscent of another New York-based act, Girls Against Boys.

‘Respirator’ gets a bit Killing Joke (certainly no bad thing), while ‘Cause’ is almost poppy, in a throbbing industrial goth sense of the word, like Ministry covering The Cure, darkly brooding, bleak, brimming with a sense of apocalypse.

Human Impact’s sound isn’t heavy in most common musical sense, and certainly not in the metal sense; the guitars aren’t absolutely raging with distortion, it’s not sludgy or doomy, and nor is it overtly industrial for the most part. Nor is it heavy in the 34BPM thud of early 80s Swans. And yet, as a listening experience, Human Impact is a heavy one, It’s the relentless bleakness which has a cumulative and harrowing effect, articulating the emptiness of a sustained level of defeat, fury, and resentment at the injustices of the world. These are dark, difficult, and unpleasant times, and Human Impact capture it in the most unsparing detail.

AA

047689

tētēma (Mike Patton and Anthony Pateras) release a video for “Wait Till Mornin’", the second single from the band’s second album, Necroscape (April 3, Ipecac Recordings).

“Peter Gunn on methamphetamine with RD Burman as co-pilot, being pursued by Madlib through an early 80s London industrial estate,” is how Pateras describes the three minute track. He went on to add: “This was one of the first songs we wrote for the new album, and probably played a big part in convincing us doing another would be a good idea. It is the only song on the record with a drum less chorus; like a lot of our music, the drama is upside down.”

“Wait Till Mornin’” is the second track to be released from the 13-song Necroscape, with the band debuting “Haunted On The Uptake” in mid-January. Pre-orders, which include a limited edition embossed gatefold vinyl (2500 copies), CD digipak and digital download are available here: https://smarturl.it/necroscape.

Necroscape is the second album from the modernist electro-acoustic rock proposition, seeing the outfit continuing to employ the wayward orchestrations and arresting physicality of their 2014 debut, Geocidal with a renewed melodic language which grounds its multi-colored twists and turns in hallucinatory lyricism.

Watch ‘Wait Till Mornin’ here:

Brooklyn based composer/producer/performer JG Thirlwell (Foetus, Manorexia, Xordox) – who has collaborated with the likes of Zola Jesus, Melvins, Swans, Kronos Quartet and many others, and is the composer for the highly acclaimed animated TV series  ‘Archer’ and ‘Venture Bros’  – and Swedish multi-instrumentalist and theatre music composer Simon Steensland collaborate on a new album Oscillospira due April 24th on Ipecac Recordings.

Different yet complementary, both creators make idiosyncratic music that can be characterised by dramatic intensity, shadowy suspense, darkness and light, sometimes breathtaking and always evocative cinematics. Oscillospira is an odyssey of dark chamber prog with a cinematic bent, largely instrumental album with eerie choral parts.

Ahead of the album they’ve unveiled ‘Heron’ as a taster. Listen to it here:

AA

Oscillospira

Human Impact, a “band that collects members from three of New York noise’s most important groups — the hardcore-influenced, ultraviolent Unsane, industrial anger mongers Cop Shoot Cop, and erstwhile Lower East Side pummelers Swans” (Rolling Stone), have released a video for “E605”.

The Samuel Mitchell-directed clip visually echoes the gritty, industrial-tinged noise rock on the band’s forthcoming, self-titled debut album (March 13, Ipecac Recordings). It is the second song to preview the 10-track release, with the band previously sharing the song “November”.

Watch ‘E605’ here:

AA

HUMANIMPACTCOVER1loresforannounce--1