Joachim Nordwall digests and mutates dub in unique industrial style on The iDEAList’s almighty follow-up to a tape and 7″ in this killer mode, bringing guest vocalists, JA’s Nazamba and polymath John Duncan, for a deeply crooked ride worthy of rinse and repeat. Picking up where his raw Early Tactical Experiments In Techno & Dub left off in spring 2019, the rugged styles of Say Yes to No poses only slightly less risk of contracting salmonella with a more stewed and treated suite taking in proper songs starring Nazamba and John Duncan amid all manner of virulent, wayward electro-dub variation. As with his superb tape for Industrial Coast, that wicked 7″ with Genesis P-Orridge, and even his recent albums as Joachim Nordwall — Conventional Wisdom with John Duncan (IDEAL 182LP), and the collaborative CD Communication Is Key — the iDEALIST naturally highlights fundamental links between dub and noise, the core principles of manipulating sound in space, with a critical blend of tactile playfulness and rigorous pressure. The two vocal cuts are outstanding in their own rights; “Bigga Boss” features Kingston-based poet and playwright Nazamba utterly possessing the opening shot with his baritone growl, rooting the LP at one pole, while John Duncan’s equally compelling appearance on a similar riddim in “Tough Doubt” comes to epitomize the project’s direct approach toward alloying and allying styles with alchemical suss comparable to The Bug, Ossia, or Andreas Tilliander. Vocals also spill out into the LP’s other tracks, but here they’re more textural and elusive, scudding thru “Everyone Fucking Relax” in a way recalling DJ Scud’s thudding remix of Bong-Ra, or masticated into intelligibility on the amorphous dub-noise lurch of “Inner Space Dub (Insane Version)” and the LP’s cataclysmic closer “Say Yes To Dub”, which are all held tight in contrast with the more defined techno and electro-dub structures of the LP’s club-ready highlights, “The Ecstasy” and “Shit Skull/Golden Mind”. It’s a hugely enjoyable album — one that leaves bits in your teef and gets up in your head like a healthy dab of shatter. RIYL: Ossia, DJ Scud, Andreas Tilliander, Jay Glass Dubs. Mastered for vinyl and at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin.
On their riveting debut collaboration, Merzbow (Masami Akita) and Posh Isolation’s Vanity Productions (Christian Stadsgaard) transmute worries about ecological disaster into a torrent of spirit-gnawing, experimental noise that surpasses the sum of its parts. Both hailing from places with a lot of coastline vulnerable to sea level rises, Masami Akita from Japan, and Stadsgaard in Denmark, Coastal Erosion sees them grasp the nettle of impending doom with typically gauntleted grip and an unswerving intensity that speaks to clear and present concerns. While perhaps not the most obvious bedfellows for collaboration, the artists patently share an emphatic empathy for the situation that resonates through their music, where human forces of emotion intersect elemental chaos in a pair of poetically tempestuous, even harrowing works. Merzbow’s visceral, primal roar sustains a perpetual force of attrition that constantly threatens to overwhelm VP’s widescreen, panoramic pads on both of the LP’s monolithic tracts. But it’s due to their democracy of vision that they speak as one, rather than over each other. In the A side’s 18 minutes of “Erosion Japan”, they connote the frothing might of the Pacific tide encroaching and destroying towering walls of steel and glass with an arrestingly Ballardian quality to their instrumental description of violence and anguish. The B side’s 17 minute “Erosion Denmark” follows with a more pensive arrangement of low-lying, unyielding drone frequencies smeared to stereo extremes and overlapped with spirit-penetrating shards of distortion, limning the prospective submergence of the Danish peninsula and its archipelagoes with a Thunbergian seriousness and intractable logic. Taken as a profound warning or as an elegy for Anthropocene extinction, Coastal Erosion is a frighteningly powerful statement that leaves its message like the murky stain of flood waters inside the mind. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering. Edition of 300.
Double LP version. Kali Malone presents a new album featuring nearly two hours of concentrated pipe organ pieces governed by a strict acoustic and compositional code. It’s a major new work with ultimately profound emotional resonance. The Sacrificial Code takes a more surgical approach to the methods first explored on Organ Dirges 2016-2017 (ASCETICKALI). Over the course of three parts performed on three different organs, Malone’s minimalist procedure captures a jarring precision of closeness, both on the level of the materiality of the sounds and on the level of composition. The recordings of The Sacrificial Code involve careful close-miking of the pipe organ in such a way as to eliminate environmental identifiers as far as possible — essentially removing the large hall reverb so inextricably linked to the instrument. The pieces are then further compositionally stripped of gestural adornments and spontaneous expressive impulse — an approach reminiscent of Steve Reich’s words, “by voluntarily giving up the freedom to do whatever momentarily comes to mind, we are, as a result, free of all that momentarily comes to mind.” With its slow, purified, and seemingly austere qualities, The Sacrificial Code guides you through an almost trance-inducing process where you become vulnerable receptors for every slight movement, where every miniature shift in sound becomes magnified through stillness. As such, it’s a uniquely satisfying exercise in transcendence through self-restraint — a stunning realization of ideas borne out of academic and conceptual rigor which gradually reveals startling personal dimensions. It has a perception-altering quality that encourages self-exploration free of signposts and without a preordained endpoint — the antithesis to the language of colorless musical platitudes we’ve become so accustomed to. Features additional organ pieces performed by Ellen Arkbro. Art and photography by A.M. Rehm. Mastered and cut by Rashad Becker.