Saturday, March 05, 2016

D. Glare, "68 Samples at 68 BPM for Phased Heads"; Damaskin, "Our Shadows Will Walk"

Two awesome new releases by two acts I know almost nothing about ...

In terms of a record delivering on the promise of its title, this debut (?) album by D. Glare is about the best example of truth in advertising that you'll find.  Schwarz/Ame/Dixon's "The Grandfather Paradox" mix is an obvious touchstone, but I'm hard pressed to think of another example of album that takes such a seemingly random assortment of source material and transforms into an unexpectedly rhythmic whole.  The early going focuses on looped drones and snippets of electroacoustic music, gradually transforming itself into percussion-led passages that have a snowball's chance of moving a dancefloor despite the watery bass thuds and pinging, scattershot vocal samples.  It takes a long time to reach this point -- about 15 minutes -- and an equally long time to wind down into something vaguely approaching a free jazz-reggae fusion with shimmerings of flute and other uncategorizable noises.  And yet the entire 36 minute run time of the piece seems to fly right by.

The second track, "Improvisations in Phase", ditches most of the insistent rhythmic elements of the first and evolves in a more free flowing way (again, as the title suggests).  It's generally noisier and more difficult to chew on, but its lo-fi, enveloping sounds maintain a clear consistency of purpose that runs throughout the entire album.


I've long been a fan of the Electric Deluxe Podcast for its consistency in posting mixes that mine the links between noise music and rugged, industrial techno.  That combination is very difficult to find in an album though.  That's partly a format issue -- DJ's who spin vinyl want club-ready recordings, not albums half-filled with beatless music that isn't worth lugging on planes and to the clubs.

Damaskin's second album contains one side of the most punishing, brutal techno you'll hear this year, and one side of brain melting, pulsing, maximalist electronic drone music.  He solves the schizophrenia issue by literally separating the two on opposite sides of a limited edition cassette release.   You can listen to either the noise side or the techno side as complete, standalone wholes, or mash them together in a longer listening session as I frequently do (both with this particular album and with these styles of music in general).  I'm hard pressed to pick out highlights because the whole album is so damned good, but I'm partial to "1916" and "We Want Truth" on the techno side (still maintaining some wisps of melodic techno before the rest of the side careens into a more industrial, metallic crunch of rhythmic noise) and the low wail growing into exploding feedback of the 13-minute "Repetitive Transformation" on the noise side.  

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