Went to Devon last week, visited a pig farm, fed some goats, found myself. But still, i also found time to collect together the below. Playboy with a work ethic.
And remember, it's RSD 2020 Part 1 next week. It's like Star Wars this year, so expect a lot more to come (just when you think it's over).
Critical Amnesia - s/t
'West Mineral-adjacent' supergroup? More like some kind of mutant Power Ranger ensemble. Critical Amnesia is the combined work of exael, Perila, Special Guest DJ, Ol, VTGNike & Huerco S, and does a pretty good job of sounding exactly like how you might imagine things to when such an odd-minded squad of electronic provocateurs assemble. Bearing passing resemblance to Huerco and exael's Ghostride the Drift collaboration (also on xpq?), this touches more on the 'broken machine' divide of the West Mineral aesthetic - if you want a reference point from that world, think more collex & the Ben Bondy record than Ulla or Pendant. Which is to say, hyperreal anti-club abstraction, amidst a touch of previously unexplored breakbeat warfare. The track titles are Aphex-like codes to the missile silo riddles, so i guess you can throw a bit of AFX in there too... Highly limited etc etc. You know the drill by now.
Blod - Livets Ord
In typical Swedish underground style, here's the first vinyl pressing of a four track collection originally self-released as a super-limited cassette back in 2018, which is now also typically pressed in such low number it'll likely be gone before most know it's out...SO TAKE NOTE!
We keep talking about what's going on in Gothenburg at the moment, and a catalyst for a lot of the current activity can be traced back to Gustaf Dicksson, who has been releasing under the Blod moniker since 2014. Unless you run with a certain set out there, it's near-impossible to keep track of the full Blod output, which, from what I can divine from the parts I've managed to locate, seems to range freely between new age, ambient, free-jazz, avant folk, field recordings & non-music. It's the former that Livets Ord explores with a truly singular detail across nearly 70 minutes of minimal synth compositions that drone, spiral and whirr with a sinister zeal, not so much spiritual as cult-like. A lot of Blod's music is tagged as 'religious' on Discogs, which I'd imagine is either a piss-take or it means 'Midsommer' - or both! The second track here is called Idiotmusik (the name of a larger series Dicksson is working on), and it's hard not to see this as some kind of veiled critique aimed at organised religion. Either way, Livets Ord is that kind of record that finds dark in the light, and is an absolute must for anyone who's found an interest in Blue Chemise, Brannten Schnurre, or the more recent Treasury of Puppies and Oroskallan records. Double LP, 300 only.
Keijo - What Keijo Played Last Summer
Hangover Central Station, 2020
Flawless three track 7" from Finnish avant blues savant, Keijo Virtanen, who has somehow mostly managed to remain obscured from view despite multiple decades of activity. What we're presented with here is raw, rural, depressive and transgressive blues expression not dissimilar in its abstraction to, say, Jandek (and the mysterious persona helps), but also finding a way to channel the spirit of improv. On the tracks where he sings, its impossible to discern the lyrics, but the message is crystal - sadness is a motherfucker. Blues as it should be, avant or otherwise. Edition of 100 hand numbered copies with riso printed cover.
The Gerogerigegege - >(decrescendo)
The Trilogy Tapes, 2020
First time vinyl run of a cassette released via Cav Empt last year, the thinking man's inscrutable Japanese noise terrorists confound once again with two near-indistinguishable tracks of ambient bliss. If you know what their name means (look it up - i'm not telling you) or have only previously heard Uguisudani Apocalypse, the much lauded Tokyo underground concept record from last year also, i doubt you'll have been expecting this. Far removed from their highly subversive industrial roots, this has far more in common with the environmental music now commonly associated with 80s Japan - think Yutaka Hirose's Nova, or Satoshi Ashikawa's contribution to the Wave Notation series. There may be precedent for this kind of thing in their catalogue, but it's far too vast for me to know. As beautiful as it is surprising. And that front cover!
Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit/Joao Pais - Eurydike/Out of Ape
Burnt Friedman - Musical Traditions in Central Europe
Two Burnt Friedman collabs pressed either side of the same disc, notable mostly for me because it contains what is surely his final two recordings with Jaki Liebezeit and thus the last installment in the Secret Rhythms series. Recorded in 2016 just before his death the following year, Liebezeit shows no evidence of slowing down, displaying all his usual trademark supernatural prowess, all subtle offbeats and distinctive shuffles. The pairing with Friedman remains a perfect one, and my only criticism here is that that the second song isn't double the length. But it's more new (and great) Liebezeit, so i'll be happy with what i've got.
While we're on Burnt Friedman, it's also worth investigating his Musical Traditions In Central Europe collection, also on Nonplace. A kind of ethnomusicological exploration of the ever-expanding/mutating universe of house and techno endemic to his own German roots and the surrounding pockets of creative enterprise, which i guess more than anything i'd see it as a loveletter to the culture Friedman so clearly prizes. Hidden histories and new traditions...
Crazy Doberman - Hypnagogic Relapse & Other Penumeral Phenomena
Digital Regress, 2020
Are you keeping up? This is something like the 40+ release Indiana's Crazy Doberman collective have spat out since 2017, and i'd be lying if i said i'd heard all of them - and so would you i'd venture, unless you're in Crazy Doberman, which there's also a good chance of since there's something like 17 of them on this new record... Hard to pigeonhole exactly what's going on with this crew given how free-ranging they are, but i'll take a shot at this new one: acid-burned, art-damaged psych flex with a wild free 'n' uneasy spontaneous improv spirit. Really, though, i shouldn't call this anything but punk. Straight outta the swamp mutant jazz punk... And for what it's worth, this one passed the shop litmus test many times over - a lot of people asking what it is when it's played. And so, Indiana's weirdo heart beats as strong as ever.