Includes a 40 minute bonus CD, The Hilton, featuring previously unreleased material: It might not have been so long since Jeff Witscher released his debut ‘proper’ album under the Rene Hell moniker, but he’s kept himself busy in the interim all the same…
Since ‘Porcelain Opera’ Jeff has put out a whole series of collaborations, 7”s, tapes and splits but few of these have given even a hint at what to expect from this sophomore full-length. Looking to his love of classical minimalism Jeff took this as the starting point for the record; he is quick to state however that this is not homage but a reinterpretation of those specific forms. The result is a deeply electronic rendition of this classical formula; the digital and analogue synthesizer and drum machine sounds that brought ‘Porcelain Opera’ to life are reframed and transferred into a very different compositional structure.
‘The Terminal Symphony’ is Jeff’s attempt to write tighter, more composed pieces of music – something of a reaction against the glut of long, often-flabby drone compositions that have become a mainstay in the scene. The pieces here are short, concise, and packed full of ideas that can take multiple listens to unravel, and the album, as a whole is almost obsessively structured and complex. Each side of the record is composed very specifically with a beginning, middle and an end (as opposed to the almost expected prolonged noodling jam) and when we begin with the familiar grunt and grind of ‘Chamber Forte’ it is only mere minutes before the track dissolves into the main theme of the album. The sounds we became familiar with on ‘Porcelain Opera’ are pushed slowly into the background to allow these new symphonic passages to shine through. An appropriate enough comparison might be arch-recluse Aphex Twin, but there is no pandering to dance music culture here. Rather Jeff has used his enviable background in noise, punk and synthesizer music to come up with something totally removed from the current scene, and absolutely singular.
The album comes to a close with the hauntingly melancholy and purposefully referential ‘Adagio For String Portrait’. The dancing synthetic blips that pirouette across Witscher’s mournful electronic waves not only re-enforce the decades long love affair between electronic and classical music but help to define it in 2011.
Limited Edition 12″ Clear Vinyl, comes with download code included in the sleeve:Once upon a time in the days of the Belgian Franc, Chantal Acda made the acquaintance Adam Bryanbaum Wiltzie, and the two became fast friends through a mutual love of disco bowling, and 1970’s Danish scary movies. They first collaborated with vocals together on the infamous last track, ‘The Struggle’ on Mr. Wiltzie’s 2004 ‘The Dead Texan’ (kranky)
It’s raining outside. The faint noise of the rain in the trees perfectly couches the moment I start listening to this album in melancholic anticipation…
The album, since you’re asking, is A Cradle In The Bowery, the first solo record from Chicago’s own, the brilliant, Zelienople; going under his given name, Matt Cristensen.
Folk music derives its origins from venerable working class traditions and its name reflects this. Notoriously difficult to define, the genre’s porous borders have helped to keep it fresh and ever relevant, with such a wide range of artists as Bob Dylan, Joanna Newsom, Nick Drake and Bonnie Prince Billy all falling somewhere within Folk’s purview.
This latest release, brought to us by the prestigious Bedroom Community can also be defined as folk music but, following in the tradition of the finest material in the genre, Puzzle Muteson’s latest full-length album throws a lot more into the pot too. Little seems to be known about the enigmatic artist based in the Isle of Wight, other than he is a singer-songwriter originally from London who has a penchant for melancholic guitar and a talent which is self-evident. Choosing to remain anonymous could be seen as an affectation to some, but so sincere are the songs within En Garde, that the lack of information on the artist forces us to focus solely on the music, which is probably for the best, since it would be foolish indeed to miss a moment of this carefully crafted masterpiece.