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    Small Color – In Light

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    Four years after the release of their debut album Outflow, Japan’s Small Color, a duo comprised of Rie Yoshihara (aka Trico!) (accordion, voice, vintage keyboard instruments) and Yusuke Onishi (guitar, banjo, bass, programming and production) are back with the beautifully polished In Light. This album marks what some may consider a departure for 12k: sublime and gentle, minimal, acoustic J-pop, which once may have been destined for the now-defunct Happy label, but can now sit comfortably beside 12k’s roster of electronic/acoustic ambient hybrids.  
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    thisquietarmy & Scott Cortez – Meridian

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    The collaboration between Scott Cortez and thisquietarmy doesn’t really come as a surprise. The latter acknowledges that the previous works from Cortez (under the lovesliescrushing moniker) greatly influenced his work, to the point of using the same way of writing the band’s name (no capital letter and no spaces between words) for his actual solo project. The main thing that they have in common is their unconventional use of the guitar, which they consider as a signal generator. They then process those sounds through various effects, to obtain a different result than that of the original signal until the source becomes almost undetectable. Meridians is also the first vinyl production from thisquietarmy, as it is Scott Cortez’s first under his real name.
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    Aaron Martin & Machinefabriek – Cello Recycling / Cello Drowning

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    Rutger Zuydervelt, a man better known to the experimental music world as Machinefabriek is somewhat prolific; a fact you might have gathered from his steady flow of super-limited edition 3” cdrs which seem to slip out relentlessly month after month. American multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin is possibly less productive only having one full-length album to his name so far, but he is no less intriguing and between them the duo have come up with a project which is far more than the sum of its parts.  
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    Wreaths – Like Sparks From Throats Falling

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    Wreaths is the moniker of Michael R Donaldson. He creates experimental music with a variety of instruments and techniques and has an idiosyncratic approach to capturing the ideas which reside in his head. Like Sparks From Throats Falling opens with ‘Nautical Almanac’. The track begins with long drones and electronics. Slowly building, the effect is mesmerising, then suddenly everything falls away into the abyss, ending with hushed tones, a hint of what’s to come. ‘O! Like Falling Snow’ proffers a more melancholic mood, with plaintive guitar playing backed by mournful strings. The piece is sublime and the delicate guitar feels like it may falter and fall apart at any moment, the fragility lending emphasis to the beauty present.
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    Death Vessel – Stay Close

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    Death Vessel is Joel Thibodeau’s work as both a solo artist and band leader. His music, captured on the resplendent record “Stay Close”, is an eloquent distillation of a life’s tales. Born in Berlin, Germany before The Wall fell… raised in Kennebunkport, Maine before the senior Bush’s presidency… this musician lived a childhood where the ghosts of Cold War casualties and seaport tragedies haunted the alleyways and beaches.  
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    Twinsistermoon – The Hollow Mountain

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    Twinsistermoon is the solo project of Mehdi Ameziane of Natural Snow Buildings, The Hollow Mountain was originally issued by Dull Knife Records in 2009 as an LP limited to only 105 copies, unsurprisingly it sold out in a matter of hours…  
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    Small Town Boredom – Autumn Might Have Hope

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    Small Town Boredom are an aptly named duo from Paisley, consisting of Fraser McGowan and Colin Morrison. Their debut album Autumn Might Have Hope was released through Trome Records in 2008, and despite arriving to it late I’ve become quite transfixed by it’s perfectly languid encapsulation of the frustrations of both small town life and small town mentality. There’s a sense of hopelessness which permeates the low key compositions, sculpted primarily through acoustic instrumentation and the odd swell of subtle electronics. The key ingredient though is the vocals, which exude the kind of lethargy of broken dreams. The songs are hushed and intimate, like whisperings of thoughts which you try not to dwell on for too long and never quite break to the forefront. The lyrics are delivered with such blunt honesty though that it’s impossible not to confront the issues dealt with, particulalrly given the relative sparsity of the production.  
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    Akron/Family – Love Is Simple 2xLP

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    For those of you who have seen my simpering, slavishly devotional blurbs and press releases in the past re Akron/Family, wherein I make ridiculous claims about them (which I happen to believe!), it should come as no surprise to you now when I reiterate they are one of the best bands on the planet. I don’t recall seeing such fantastic live shows ever, except maybe Pere Ubu at the Whisky in LA circa 1978 or Pink Floyd circa Umma Gumma era 1968/9.  
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    Small Town Boredom – Notes from the Infirmary

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    Artists thrive on emotional extremes, moments of unprecedented joy or crushing sadness. It is easier to transcribe these feelings into music. Middle grounds are much too complicated to address with music, the confusion, the mood swings come fast and what would seem like a perfect fit with one’s emotions at one point make no sense after a few minutes. They lack clarity. Melancholy drenched songs in particular seem to connect better with the receivers of music than their happier counterparts. Steven Wilson, mastermind behind Progressive rock group Porcupine Tree, once introduced one of their saddest songs “Stop Swimming” by saying “this next song is a very sad song, but if you’re like me, you’ll find that the saddest songs are also the most beautiful”. I find this to hold true.
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    Pitre / Ensemble – Organized Pitches Occurring In Time

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    Organized Pitches Occurring in Time consists of two 25 minute pieces of music, both spawned from the same conceptual composition/score by Duane Pitre, titled Ensemble Drones. With their form reminiscent of works by La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music and their tonality touching on the floating works of Terry Riley, ‘The Ensemble Chord in Eb with a Minor 7th and a Pump Organ Base’ & ‘The Ensemble Chord in C with a Major 7th and a Guitar Base’ are aural tapestries based on a minimal tonal palette with their instrumentation consisting of guitars, alto saxophones, bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, tone generator, and pump organ.  
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    Tomas Phillips & Marihiko Hara – Prosa

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    Prosa marks the first collaboration between Marihiko Hara and Tomas Phillips… Utilizing a diverse range of instrumentation, both electronic and acoustic, Prosa is as still as it is dynamic. Its formation (a transcontinental process, through the post) was an exercise of patience and concerted application alike. Thematically (but indirectly), Prosa shares a space with writers whose palette wavers between existential crisis, awkward distance, and snapshots of emotional expenditure (e.g. Jean-Philippe Toussaint) and with certain “quiet” descriptions found in classical Japanese literature.
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    M. Ostermeier – Chance Reconstruction

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    M. Ostermeier first two releases were both in mini-album form:  Percolate on [parvo art] and Lakefront on Hibernate.  These releases garnered strong reviews in The Wire, Textura, and The Silent Ballet for juxtaposing melancholic stillness with restrained post-rock urgency.  Throughout, the fragmented piano infused with electronic textures and field recordings established a melancholic and reflective mood but more through style than through melody.
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    Piiptsjilling – Wurdskrieme

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    Wurdskrieme is one of two new releases from Piiptsjilling, a quartet that is formed of Jan and Romke Kleefstra, Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt. The name Piiptsjilling (pronounced ‘peep-chilling’) is Frisian; a language which Jan Kleefstra uses for the poetry he reads to accompany the improvised sonic worlds that the remaining three members create with guitars, effects, loopers and the voice… In March 2010 the band took to an intensive 2-day improvised recording session with the goal of creating nothing more than beautiful, challenging music. The session resulted in two-and-a-half hours of material which was mixed and edited into two separate albums. Did they succeed with their simple goal? Yes. Yes they did.
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    Mount Eerie – Black Wooden

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    Black Wooden is the coming together of ideas that had travelled with Mount Eerie for months and had solidified into compositions in the days and hours before the studio session. The title itself refers acutely to the genre black metal–perhaps less surprising a reference considering black metal often shares Mount Eerie’s appreciation with low fidelity production aesthetics (among many other things), and that Phil Elverum had just been in Norway before arriving in the UK. Southern Studios’ well-established approach of getting out of the way and letting the performance speak for itself has never been more successful than in Mount Eerie’s Black Wooden session.
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    Mike Jedlicka & Cloudburst – Tabor / NW Passage

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    Mike Jedlicka and Cloudburst share Optic Echo’s return to vinyl with this ambient, field recording laden 12”. Copies are hand numbered in a limited edition of 160, and silkscreened on recycled cardboard sleeves. Art by Marcus Fisher, mastered by Taylor Deupree at 12k.
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    Tim Hecker – Norberg

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    Recorded at the Norberg Festival (Sweden) amidst the mineshafts and cluttered buildings strewn throughout parts the city, this 21 minute live piece summarises much of what makes Tim Hecker’s music so vital and compelling. Adept at counter-pointing the most ferocious of distorted platters with smooth beds of ambient sound and potent melodic overtones, Tim Hecker creates music with a vast depth. On Norberg, this depth seems almost endless, as layer upon layer of sound are compiled into a swelling and all together visceral oceanic sound wave. Recently touring Australia and New Zealand and performing at ROOM40’S annual festival Open Frame, this CD comes on the back of some incredible live performances in the Southern Hemisphere.
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    FNS – FNS

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    Despite being his first recording for Miasmah, it transpires that FNS or Fredrik Ness Sevendal is in fact a veteran of the Oslo experimental scene. Having collaborated with several groups over the years, FNS is very much his solo project. Using a variety of instruments, but predominantly focusing on guitar, there is a premeditated approach here; an effort to ensure the lo-fi nature of the record is appreciated by the listener.
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    Ben Nash / Sophie Cooper – Alchemy

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    Recorded over a weekend back in the early months of 2009, here are 2 tracks of multi instrumental composition from Ben Nash and Sophie Cooper (CooperJones)… The music here is truly beautiful, personally I think this is some of the best work to come from both Ben and Sophie so far. Total late night guitar meanderings blurred with a haze of deep churning scrapes from various instruments and layered drone bliss, creating 2 totally immersive and beautiful psychedelic drone.
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    Bio + Larkian + Les Poissons Autistes

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    Three:four is happy to introduce you to its first totally Swiss record. Although half of the label is based in Lausanne, we haven’t had the opportunity to work with local bands before. Consider it done with this new record that gathers the cream of the scene from Romandy. Their discographies are proof enough of the vast musical universe they evolve into, with a tendency for all experimentations.
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    Cory Allen – Pearls

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    Cory Allen’s ‘Pearls’ is one of those albums that don’t want you to get too comfortable. The album’s press release suggests that it explores ‘existential landscape’ – two words I don’t think I’ve ever seen put together before with regards to music, but somehow fitting. The album is not exactly inviting but isn’t cold either. It is an album that has a clearly defined narrative in a way that I haven’t seen in quite some time. Allen is always working toward an end goal and there is an almost existential philosophical statement in this small self-contained album.
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    Cezary Gapik – Contrast

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    Contrast I is the latest work from Polish experimental musician Cezary Gapik and comes via White Box Recordings, the first in a trilogy of the artists works to be released by the label… When first experiencing a work that comprises two tracks, half of which could fairly be described as noise, one cannot help but consider the artist and their intentions, to try and gauge their sincerity. In this case though, the artists intent can be safely assured. With a long history of noise-making, Gapik has an extensive back catalogue of small run releases and CDr’s. Born 1963 in Czestochowa, Poland, Gapik was originally drawn to Punk Rock and Post-Punk while an interest in avant-garde icons such as Morton Feldman also existed alongside his more confrontational tastes. Presumably touched by the 1980′s industrial music scene, the artists bio refers to his music as ‘power electronics’, a term coined by the ever controversial William Bennett of infamous noise legends Whitehouse.
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    Gurun Gurun – Gurun Gurun

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    Gurun Gurun is a Czech-based experimental, weird ambient & improvised music collective formed in the autumn 2007 by guitarist Tomas Knoflicek and keyboardist Jara Tarnovski… Their musical work combines guitars, analogue synthesizers, turntables, acoustic instruments and digital effects to span musical spaces ranging from hypno-minimalist atmospheres to warm tones of slow moving, repetitive melodic stanzas. Their twelve track debut album is a balancing act of frenetic yet sedate melodic layering that dances between chaotic and considered; multiple tones vie for space around central melodies that sound as though they could have been sampled from multiple genres of film soundtrack.
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    Ambit – Issue 203

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    Edited by Martin Bax since 1959 and publishing everyone from B S Johnson, JG Ballard and Carol Ann Duffy to Fleur Adock, Geoff Nicholson and Jonathan Lethem, Ambit is perfect for anyone looking for lively and compelling poetry, fiction and art from a spirited mix of writers.
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    Baseline Issue 58 (Book)

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    Baseline covers the related areas of graphic art, multimedia, architecture and typographic design. The articles are written by internationally recognised contributors and its design and print production regularly wins major international design awards. Issue 58: Welcome to Baseline issue 58, our spring issue. As usual the designs of the cover and jacket reflect some aspects of the features published here. The cover shows the numbers 50 and 8 in Lagoon, an Armenian typeface by Carolyn Puzzovio. The jacket, which doubles as poster, is a photographic collage of urban stencil characters. The two books, which are reviewed, are essential references for any serious design library. Paul Shaw reflects on Helmut Schmid’s homage to Emil Ruder, typographer and educator at the renowned Kunstgewerbeschule in Basle. Paul Razzell comments on David Jury’s vast 400 pages artist book reference catalogue, which presents an important record of the first biennial Codex Book Fair and Symposium, Berkeley, California.
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    Alexander Tucker – Old Fog (CD)

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    Alexander Tucker began as the vocalist in post-rock hardcore 5-piece ‘Unhome’ who released one album “A Short History of Houses” (Unlabel) and a split single with Papa M. Unhome split in late 1999 and Tucker went on to tour with Detroit space-rockers ‘Fuxa’. Simultaneously, Tucker had been developing his interest in improvisation using detuned guitars, tape loops, mini disc player and fx pedals. In early 2000 Tucker recorded a solo self-titled album of acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics, field recordings and spooked vocals, which was picked up by Tom Greenwood of Jackie-O-Motherfucker and released under his U-Sound Archives label.
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    FareWell Poetry – Hoping for the Invisible… (Deluxe Vinyl)

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    Deluxe LP includes download code, 8 page booklet, 12″x12″ exclusive art print on recycled board from Alice Lewis, three small art prints, postcard. ‘Hoping for the Invisible to Ignite’ was recorded and mixed between Paris, Normandy (FR) and Saint-Margaret of Antioch Church in Leeds (UK), these four haunting orchestral pieces were performed in the studio live, and re-recorded using a ‘wall of sound’ process, adding the natural reverb of the church to the raw tracks. The DVD includes the Super 8/16mm black&white film ‘As True As Troilus’ by Jayne Amara Ross & a bonus live performance shot by Alain Grodard & Rod Maurice during the ‘Festival des Nouveaux Arts Sacres’ at Saint-Eustache Church in Paris. You can watch a trailer for the film above. Words on ‘As True As Troilus’ film by Nicole Brenez (curator for the Avant-Garde programs at the Cineématheèque Francaise)
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    David A Jaycock – A Magnifying Glass For The Ants (CD)

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    Following on from David’s Presets LP last year for Blackest Rainbow, he has worked on a brand new full length CDR, exploring a more multi instrumental drone sound, experimenting with stringed objects and a far more dark sounding sound, but with its roots in some traditional sounding more far out folk. David’s guitar plucking appears at various times, and its blends in perfectly with this new approach to his music. Limited to 100 copies in full colour covers.
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    Fabio Orsi – Stand Before Me, Oh My Soul (CD)

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    For some, expressing oneself is a difficult task. It takes away any aspect of security one may have been clinging on to and opens up your inner being to be displayed in all its detail. For others it comes naturally; and be it through some form of art, it is quite a beautiful thing to behold. Experimental, Avant Garde or simply music that doesn’t follow traditional structures or sounds is, to my mind, the most spectacular form of expressionism. Sure, words can be more intimate and accessible, but allowing your thoughts, feelings and emotions to control an instrument is raw and empowering. This is what Fabio Orsi’s latest work feels like to me; a trip through memories, deep thoughts and heavy emotions. This album is ecstatic, it’s uplifting and it sounds so pure and rich; this sound coupled with the album and track names seems as though he poured his entire soul into it.
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    Danny Saul – Kinison – Goldthwait (CD)

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    To have the names of two of the most famous comedians of the 1980’s, let alone two engaged in one of the harshest feuds ever between any comedians as the title of the album, with artwork to match, could leave the prospective listener with a number of different notions regarding the music contained in this album. Personally speaking, having never heard any of Danny Saul’s previous albums, the first thing that came to mind prior to listening to this release was that it could be an electronica influenced album, with lots of tension and relief, and loads of samples by both comedians embedded randomly within the music. I couldn’t have been any farther from the truth…
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    Akron/Family (CD)

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    Akron/Family are four extremely nice, sincere and well-mannered young men from rural America who came to NYC (in 2002) to make music, hoping to find a thread of real magic still winding through this city’s music scene. They certainly did just that, but they did it by retreating into a tiny Brooklyn apartment, where they made their own world instead, in complete and stubborn isolation. They proceeded (while simultaneously growing alarmingly long beards and developing a playful but hermetic quasi-religious/sonic worldview/creed known as “AK” or sometimes “AK-AK”) to make several albums worth of recordings on crude home equipment – the material compulsively chopped, spliced, and orchestrated into fractal jewels of song and schismatically opposed atmospheres.  
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    The Hunter Gracchus / Kommissar Hjuler Und Frau (Vinyl)

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    Two bands that really rip out their ur-tongues for you. The spectacularly cathartic Kommissar & his queen make some odd, Simpsons-themed sex outfits out of trash bags. They put them on, lie on the floor & then roll around on top of guitars while hyperventilating and shrieking. Hunter side is also vocal improv, this time from some free-flapping Sheffield folks who run the Singing Knives label & hang out with the Harappian Night Recordings guy.
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    Tucker & Decomposed – Grey Onion (Vinyl)

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    It’s funny to think that this is Alexander Tucker’s first Latitudes session, as he’s always felt like a part of the Southern family. From being one of the driving forces behind the first release on Latitudes (Ginnungagap) to providing artwork, playing on the same bills or collaborating with musicians in our stable, Alex has also felt like a fellow walking the same path as us, and has been top of our list to do a session since we started the series.  
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    Tim Catlin & Machinefabriek – Patina (Vinyl)

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    Limited edition white vinyl LP packaged in a two-tone matt sleeve. Pressed at Record Industry in the Netherlands for optimum sound quality… ‘Patina’ comes via influential Nottingham label Low Point and features Australian sound artist Tim Catlin, along with the prolific Rotterdam based Rutger Zuydervelt, appearing here under his Machinefabriek moniker…
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    Starving Weirdos – B/P/M Series 1 (Vinyl)

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    Starving Weirdos are a collective that I keep reading about, and seeing on live line-ups that I can’t quite manage to get to. Recently I received an album via the ever-prolific Blackest Rainbow label. The duo of Brian Pyle and Merrick McKinlay have taken a side of vinyl each to rework the playing of pianist Darius Brottman. Long avant-garde piano solos are reworked in weird and wonderful ways that surprised and inspired my ears. The prepared piano is replaced with a post-production feel that remains fresh, even in its existence as a delayed response.
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    Ali Robertson’s Ludd Quest – Don’t Turn (CD)

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    Brand new slab of avant weirdo sounds from Ali of Usurper. Slurping, sucking and squeaking insanity opens up this five track disc. As it progresses it may well just get more and more weird, pouring water, some sorta mic-ed up pipe actions, weird tinkerings of househeld objects, layered talking (at times saying that talking is a terrible idea – ‘why are you talking’). Ali’s work with Usurper and his solo work retains a great sense of humour, with the pure weirdness of what is going and lack or knowing what the hell is making half the bizarre sounds. Limited to 50.
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    Usurper and Sticky Foster: II (CD)

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    Brand new one from these Scottish improvisers Ali Robertson and Malcy Duff aka Usurper, here joined by UK underground legend and A Band member, Sticky Foster. Sticky Foster fits in perfectly with Robertson and Duff’s bizarre weirdo sound of somehow using a shit load of stuff that you can never quite tell what exactly it is doing what.  
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    Timothy C. Holehouse – In Search of the Binary Star (CD)

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    This is the most fully realised and wide-screen work from Tim so far, incorporating a host of ideas and executing them brilliantly. This time with a full backing band, Tims sound is fuller and bolder. Crashing drums, droning guitars and electronic beats all combine to create a progressive master piece fusing elements of post rock, psychedelic and noise. Once again I can’t think of any other bands or artists around at the moment that come even remotely close to what Tim does and I am again honoured and excited to be releasing this. – Dead Pilot CD, edition of 500 in black on black screen printed digipaks with full colour 4 panel insert, in resealable cello bag.
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    Archers By The Sea – Eagle Kiss (Tape)

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    Cassette from Vincent of “V” and The Pistol Cosmos. Blackest Rainbow previously released “V”s The Chanting Path a few years ago to some great reviews… Five untitled pieces opening with a mediative guitar meandering, leading into more powerful heavy distorted pieces and right back through to a superb final track of layered instrumentation with beautiful distant vocal flowing in and out of the hypnotic sounds laid across the almost 16 minute finale. Full colour covers, pro-dubbed and limited to 100.
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    Jannick Schou – Against a Backdrop of Blue Hills

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    Culled from hours of orchestrated tape loops, “Against a Backdrop of Blue Hills, They Were as Beautiful as a Lullaby” finds Jannick Schou circumnavigating the folds of a rich, effervescent landscape with monsoon-like drones, mountainous drifts, and suspended tones. Tape loops designed as torrential storms, evasive sounds peak from crevices, me sat transfixed in a half-conscious state, between wake and sleep, exploring the nether regions with a thousand yard stare. “Against a Backdrop of Blue Hills…” provides the canvas for a drifting stasis, wavering and dissolving amongst glimmers of thoughts; me, immobile, intent on the far reaches of the ether, a study of the minutia, the cataclysm of antimatter, an assured focus of the universe condensed in my writhing hands, my feet seemingly suspended above the floor, weightlessness, a “Departure”, fleeting tracks such as “Untitled II (For Tape) and “A Wave in My Backyard” allow distance from the body, now a separate entity; the mind is adrift. All extremities go numb in “Blue Hills”; the listener is left with an awareness of location but one’s surrounding are intangible—the closeness of the music develops even further; an overwhelming oneness ensues.
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    Olan Mill – Pine (CD)

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    Ambient sounds travel around us. They can go unnoticed and form part of the deluge of noise that exists in our atmosphere… They can also be considered and appreciated as something integral to the makeup of our auditory senses. Take the trickling of a stream, the humming of a bird or, in the context of this review, the echoes of music emanating from a church, and with a little analysis one can appreciate the presence of these reverberations. Listening to “Pine,” the second release from record label Serein, and the debut recording from Olan Mill, it is clear the group’s two collaborators are appreciators of these sounds. For while this compact, concise group of recordings are created from a palette of instruments and not from field recordings so usually associated with ambient music, such is the dream like, slow motion quality of the sounds at work that one could easily forget they are listening to a record, as the notes seamlessly form part of their natural surroundings.
    £10.00 £5.00
    £10.00 £5.00
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