Nuojuva “Kuu piirtää sillan” Valot Kaukaa CD* (Preservation)
Ashley Paul “Only You Know” Slow Boat LP (Orange Milk)
Visitor (Elizabeth Harris & Ilyas Ahmed) “The Edges” Visitor LP (Social Music)
Ghedalia Tazartes “Tazartes’ Transports (track #4)” Tazartes’ Transports CD (Alga Marghen)
Viktor Timofeev “Eden_Olympia” Give Health999 LP (lo bit landscapes)
Black To Comm “Mirror” Earth LP (De Stijl)
Excavacations “Silver Salver” Object Permanence CD (Weird Forest)
House of Low Culture “Inappropriate Body, Pt. 1” Poisoned Soil 2LP (Taiga)
Ben Vida “ssseeeeiiiiii” esstends-esstends-esstends LP (PAN)
NHK’Koyxen “530_Green and White with Yellow” Dance Classics Vol. 1 LP (PAN)
Quicksails “Must Never Catch It” Silver Balloons In Clusters LP* (Under The Spire)
Nate Wooley “Amplifer" (excerpt) Trumpet/Amplifier LP (Smeraldina-Rima)
Simon Balestrazzi “Persistence Of Memory” (brief excerpt) The Sky Is Full Of Kites CD (Boring Machines)
Sparkling Wide Pressure “Future Voice” Grandfather Harmonic CD* (Preservation)
Well, spring has officially sprung around these parts and damn if it hasn’t been unbelievably nice. Since I last chimed in on these pages, you could have possibly found me doing the following: (a) riding around aimlessly on a bike, (b) sporting horribly uncool shorts, (c) BBQing out on a deck, or (d) drinking unusually colored cocktails. Okay, it’s all of the above and, hell, it’s not even April yet!
Anyways, let’s get on to some of the highlights of this week’s podcast show. We started things off with a track from the terrific new album Valot Kaukaa from Nuojuva, which is the new alias of Finnish sound artist Olli Aarni, whom previously recorded under the name Ous Mal. Aarni came across my radar last year with a pair of stellar releases out on Sweat Lodge Guru and Avant Archive. On this release that the Preservation label just put out, Aarni moves into a more abstract songform mode, yet it still retains the warmth and blissful atmospheric qualities of his previous work. The same could be said of the forthcoming Sparkling Wide Pressure album that Preservation is also set to release in April. Sparkling Wide Pressure (a.k.a. Frank Baugh) has been producing some of the most consistently engaging work within the cassette underground for several years now, but, for me, this Grandfather Harmonic release has to rank at the very top. The mantra-like vocals and varied instrumentation, especially the ghostly harmonica textures, sound like both a natural progression and a bold new direction for Baugh. It’s just an impressive album all around. I’m guessing I’m not alone in saying that the recent arrival of the PAN catalog at all the reputable mail order outlets in the States has been a much-welcomed development. I’m probably also not alone in saying that I’ve been slowly trying to snatch up everyone of these releases as the ol’ budget will allow as this has to be one of the most exciting, both sonically and visually, experimental labels operating right now. The Hecker and Ghedalia Tazartes releases from last year are downright essential and the more spins I give this Ben Vida record I’m thinking that it too falls into that category. Like Matt Carlson’s recent Particle Language album, esstends-esstends-esstends is an innovative slab of electronic music that upends your notions of composition and sonic possibilities within the “genre”. The NHK’Koyxeu release, on the other hand, is easy to enjoy on a purely physical level. It wasn’t too long ago that I bought into the 'Malkmus maxim' that the “dance faction is a little too loose for me.” But Dance Classics Vol. 1, not to mention the recent Heatsick album, is a nice reminder that it’s good to get loose every now and then. Granted, for an aging dude with questionable coordination at best, getting loose involves nothing more than mildly rhythmic head nodding and the occasional tightened lips if I’m really feelin’ it. But hey, move the way you’re moved, right? And if we’re speaking of being moved, for entirely different reasons in this case, the new Black To Comm album Earth is a hauntingly beautiful piece of work. I was initially a bit turned off by the vocals, but this release has a certain appeal to it that is undeniable. It’s captivating and unsettling in a post-Climate of Hunter-era Scott Walker sort of way. And, as far as I know, no sides of meat were punched during the making of this one.