Monthly Spins: August 2017

The dog days are upon us but there’s no rest here at Audiostream. For August we have quite a line up of eclectic and stunning tunes for you. Some Mississippi blues, minimalist classical, indie rock, ambient techno, ethiopiyawi electronic, feral rock, folkatronic, motorik kraut, hip hop, proto-post rock, experimental, afro-latin-world and perhaps controversially, plunderphonics. So let the sleeping dogs lie, make some cold-brew coffee, fire up the DAC, and get ready for some great music.

Roberto Musci: The Loa Of Music (The Complete Sessions)
File Under: fourth world, field recordings, electronics, world
If I get lucky I can hope that once a month I discover a real undiscovered gem (or in this case several). Originally released in 1983 as a single album, The Loa Of Music is now rereleased in it’s full 80 minute length and available on the 2LP set as well as other formats. Milanese composer Musci is one of those rare musical explorers who, rather than merely having an eclectic record collection, actually traveled the world, using his tape recorder, listening closely, and collecting instruments along the way that he learned how to play. See also the stunning Tower of Silence and Losing The Orthodox Path, both available on Tidal, Bandcamp.

Available from Bandcamp




Jesse Mae Hemphill: She Wolf
File Under: deep, Mississippi north country blues
Jesse Mae Hemphill (Oct 1923--July 2006) is a rare find indeed. Her two albums She Wolf (1981)and Feelin’ Good 1990 are impossible to find on their original vinyl and until recently not yet available digitally. Born into a family of musicians in Northern Mississippi, Hemphill’s great-grandfather was a renowned fiddle player while her grandfather recorded with Alan Lomax.

Available from Bandcamp




Moor Mother X Mental Jewelry: Crime Waves
File Under: new hip hop collaboration
There’s just so much hip hop being produced that it’s hard to keep up but I do have a tendency to like the most politically woke stuff that I hear. The N-word repetition, bling and hoe jangles get old pretty quick. Give me reparations talk and honesty about life in the white supremacy and under the yoke of hyper-capitalist forces any day. This is why Moor Mother made it to my best of 2016 list and bland corporate juggernauts like Beyonce’s Lemonade left me cold. Here she collaborates with Philly cohort Mental Jewelry for another uncompromising release.

Available from Bandcamp




Cloudland Canyon: An Arabesque
File Under: Motorik inspired, space rock, dreamwave
Almost a supergroup at this juncture, Cloudland Canyon last incarnation was in 2010, when they sounded a lot like the sort of stuff that was trendy in the Post-Merriweather Pavilion world. Now with original married members Kip and Kelly Uhlhorn they include band members from a who’s who of the Memphis rock scene including from Big Star, Spacemen 3, Flaming Lips, and LCD Soundsystem for an ebullient record that shoots for the rapture of the stars.

Available from Bandcamp




Conrad Sprenger: Stack Music
File Under: post-minimalist, revivalist American, electronic
Composer, musician, artist, producer, and Berlin-based Conrad Sprenger not only creates some of his own instruments, but also programs his own algorithms. That this is all done on an computer-enhanced electric guitar makes the Riley and Reichian and Tony Conrad references all the more striking. But Sprenger is attempting nothing short of a new form of composition, layering Euclidean rhythmic patterns that in his own words he describes as "creating complex rhythmical patterns whilst tuning the strings during performance—sounding at once like an electronic instrument, a drum computer, a guitar, a harpsichord, even at times like a full orchestra."

Available from Bandcamp




Ellen Arkbro: For Organ and Brass
File Under: contemporary classical, minimalism, ambient, drone
Swedish composer Ellen Arkbro wrote this album specific historical tuning she found while using the Sherer-Orgel organ, dating back to 1624 in St Stephen’s Church in Germany. "The brass instruments and the organ fall into patterns of interaction in which a new breathing instrument emerges," she explained. "I found that they closely resemble the traditional framework of blues music and resembles a very slow and reduced blues music."

Available from Bandcamp




Mikael Seifu: Zelalem
File Under: ethiopiyawi electronic
Ethiopian producer Mikael Seifu lives and works in Addis-Ababa creating what he describes as "Ethiopiyawi Electronic" not a synthesis of Western electronica combined with Ethiopian traditions but a more open and nuanced feeling for the sort of complex blending of styles already present in the existing mix. This is an EP that came out last year and we can only hope that he follows this gem up with a full length sometime soon. There are quite a few single tracks and collaborations of Seifu’s up on YouTube.

Available from Bandcamp




Broken Social Scene: Hug of Thunder
File Under: I guess it’s rock, or pop-rock or something
When I first heard this I thought "we don’t deserve this much dread-free and optimistic music during these dark days." But maybe we do need an ebullient and uplifting tour-de-force sort-of-rock record to make up for how underwhelming that Fleet Foxes record turned out to be. Like Arcade Fire, Canada’s Broken Social Scene has upwards of 17 players, some of them like Feist, and Emily Haines of Metric, are already famous in their own right. It’s a little overwhelming at times, even bombastic in its excess, but no one else is really making music like this right now and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

Available from Boomkat




Porter Ricks: Angullia Electrica
File Under: deep, experimental, dub-techno
Andy Mellwig and Thomas Koner have just dropped another slinky, sub-aquatic, dub-drenched record, their first since 2012. They worked on this one for over four years and it doesn’t really sound like other techno, let alone their early work from the mid-90’s.

Available from Tidal




YEAHMAN: Transborda
File Under: afrolatinbeatincarnate, tropical bass, world
A relatively new and unknown DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Toulouse, France not to be confused with the lower case softrock version of the same name. Upper case YEAHMAN manages a sparkling mix of African and Latin beats playing a lot of the instruments (keyboards, guitar, marimbas, charango) and creating a rich mix of world styles and stellar rhythms.

Available from Bandcamp




TunaBunny: PCP Presents Alice in Wonderland Jr.
File Under: epic indie rock
A sprawling double album unlike anything else this Athens band has done, here turning shambolic, punkish with a political, feminist, provocative and an eminently refreshing journey into the heart of—I don’t know what. The literate songwriting and surprising twists; the goofy humor and biting satire is a perfect balm for these post-reality times. And if you asked me I’d say I don’t even believe in indie rock, but these guys make me wonder if I should reconsider.

Available from Bandcamp




Bernice: Puff (EP)
File Under: bedroom, composition, dream-pop, jazz
Toronto-based composer, vocalist and song writer Robin Dann has the lightest of touches and blends her late-Joni Mitchell-like jazz-inflected songs through a lens that is as spare and succinct as a seriously funkified Laurie Anderson. Dann comes from a musical family (Mom a harpist and Dad a violinist) while she herself pursued a MA in music, and in this project called Bernice she shows off her genetic chops and willingness to experiment and be content with a less-is-more attitude.

Available from Bandcamp




Fletcher Tucker: Cold Spring
File Under: ambient, experimental folk, post-rock, field recordings
Call it music for the Anthropocene era although there are hints of late Talk-Talk, Kemper Norton and the proggish UK tradition of dirges (see post-New Age) and pastoral, antediluvian meditations on nature and why we humans might be helplessly out of sync and therefore doomed. Fletcher lives in Big Sur, Cali and brings the sights and sounds of his liminal life there into his songs and lyrics. He has recorded several albums as Bird By Snow and runs the Gnome Life Records label.

Available from Bandcamp




Power Trip: Nightmare Logic
File Under: hardcore, old school, feral rock
Here it’s all about the subtle play between the various players who show off an intuitive understanding about how to create lush and complex compositions, delicate metaphor-laden lyrics and an overriding sense of bliss. . . blah, blah, blah-- just kidding. Maybe it’s my blue collar roots or maybe it’s that no matter how talented the maestros working in whatever genre, I still sometimes need to play and hear aggressive and fierce music that gives me a macho rush of adrenaline and leaves a shit-eating grin on my face. Blistering, relentless and so much fun, and so damned good. Please, hate me for this repugnant and absurd lack of taste. I dare you.

Available from Tidal




From The Archives

Bark Psychosis: Hex (1994)
File Under: proto-post-rock
This was the album that critic Simon Reynolds found so difficult to place that he first coined the term post-rock to try and create a new lexicon in which Hex could be considered, that according to the recently published book by Jeanette Leech entitled Fearless: The Making of Post-Rock. Of course any geezer with half a mind left knows that post-rock started in 1988 with the release of Talk Talk’s seminal masterwork, Spirit of Eden. Not to take anything away from this record, because in the annals of this genre Hex will always be considered one of the top examples yet produced. On September 15th the remastered version will be available on a double LP and digital download.

Available from Bandcamp


Joe Surdna is a practicing artist and writer who has published in Playboy, GQ, Zoetrope and has worked on several alt-weeklies as an entertainment reporter focusing on art, new music, and film reviews.

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